In China, bad odors are regulated under the Air Pollution Control Act, and are specifically regulated by individual national standards.

Noise is regulated as a single sector regulation, but in 2008, national standards were set for each of the noise regulations related to industrial facilities and the living and working environment of urban and rural residents.

Under the Environmental Protection Law, there is an urban area environmental vibration standard established in 1988 to regulate urban environmental vibration pollution. In addition to that, there are other national standards that define vibration surveying methods.

Many of these were enacted before 2000, and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment is currently in the process of formulating revised laws.


1. Offensive odor related regulations

As an offensive odor-related regulation in China, “Odor Pollutant Emission Standard” (GB14554-93) is mentioned as a part of the airborne stationary source pollutant emission standard. It was promulgated by the ex-Ministry of Ecology and Environment on August 6, 1993.

Scope of application

The Odor Pollutant Emission Standard applies for companies that emit offensive odor  gas into the atmosphere, emission control of garbage depository, and environmental impact assessment, design, completion inspection, and emission control after construction for construction projects.

The “Standard” stipulates the maximum value allowed to be discharged at one time, the odor concentration limit value for complex offensive odor substances, and the boundary limit value for fugitive discharge, regarding eight types of offensive odor pollutants.

Revision trend

On December 3, 2018, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China announced the “Standards for Emission of Offensive Odor Pollutants (Opinion Request Manuscript)”, and the opinion solicitation was closed on January 15, 2019. The main revisions this time are as follows.

  1. “Standard classification” has been abolished;
  2. Strict odor pollutant emission limits have been set;
  3. The calculation method of the maximum allowable emission rate has been revised;
  4. The requirements for monitoring have been updated.

However, as of August 2020, no information has yet been released regarding the establishment and promulgation of a new “Odor Pollutant Emission Standard”.


2. Noise related regulations

2.1 Environmental Noise Pollution Prevention Law

The basic law on noise in China is the “People’s Republic of China Environmental Noise Pollution Prevention Law” promulgated in 1996.

The outline is as follows;


In order to prevent environmental noise pollution, this law requires various levels of authorities from national to local governments to establish policies, measures, environmental and emission standards, and encourage technological development, etc., and it also regulates extensively the facilities and business activities that emit environmental noise. For the industrial production sector, the obligation to declare equipment that emits noise, thorough preparation of preventive measures, and relevant penalties, etc. are stipulated.


Environmental noise pollution in this law refers to a phenomenon that exceeds the national environmental noise emission standards and disturbs the normal life, work, and learning of other people.

Scope of application

This law is applied to the sounds that disturb the surrounding living environment that occurs in industrial production, building construction, traffic transportation and social life.

2.2 Sound environment quality standard (GB3096-2008)

In addition, aiming to thoroughly enforce the above-mentioned Environmental Noise Pollution Control Law, prevent noise pollution, and ensure the normal sound environment quality of living, working and learning of urban and rural residents, the Chinese government promulgated the Sound Environmental Quality Standard (GB3096-2008) on March 19, 2008 and it came into effect on October 10, 2008.


This standard stipulates environmental noise limits (daytime and nighttime) and surveying methods for five types of sound environment functional zones, and was originally promulgated in 1982. The first revision was made in 1993, and the one in 2008 is the second revision.

This standard consists of preface, scope of application, references for normative legal documents, terms and definitions, sound environment functional zone classification, environmental noise limits, environmental noise monitoring requirements, sound environment functional segmentation requirements, and requirements for standard implementation.

Scope of application

This standard applies to the evaluation and management of sound environment quality. However, this standard does not apply to the effects associated with the passage of airplanes (takeoff, landing, low-altitude flight) on the area around the airfield.

The range to be covered is divided into 5 classes of sound environment functional zones as shown below.

  • 0 Class Sound Environmental Functional Zone: Areas that require special rest, such as rehabilitation sanatoriums.
  • 1 Class Sound Environment Functional Zone: Areas that require the maintenance of rest, such as housing, medical hygiene facilities, and cultural education facilities.
  • 2 Class Sound Environment Functional Zone: An area where commercial finance, market trade, etc. are the main, or housing, commercial facilities, factories are mixed and it is necessary to maintain the rest of the housing.
  • 3 Class Sound Environment Functional Zone: Areas that need to be prevented from being affected by industrial noise, such as manufacturing factories and distribution warehouses.
  • 4 Class Sound Environment Functional Zone: An area where it is necessary to prevent the influence of traffic noise within a certain distance on both sides of the traffic trunk line. Class 4a is for roads and river routes, and class 4b is for both sides of the railway trunk line.


2.3 Industrial enterprise factory boundary environmental noise emission standard (GB12348-2008)

The Chinese government promulgated the “Industrial enterprise factory boundary environmental noise emission standard (GB12348-2008)” on August 19, 2008, and it came into effect on October 1, 2008, for the purpose to thoroughly implement the Environmental Protection Law and the Environmental Noise Pollution Control Law, prevent noise pollutions by industrial enterprises and improve the sound environment quality.


This standard combines “Industrial Enterprise Factory Boundary Noise Standard” (GB12348-90) and “Industrial Enterprise Factory Boundary Noise Survey Method” (GB12349-90) into one standard. It stipulates environmental noise emission limits at factory boundaries and their surveying methods.

Scope of application

This standard applies to the control, assessment and regulation of noise from industrial enterprises. This standard also applies to organizations, business entities, organizations, etc. that emit noise to the outside.


3.Vibration-related regulations

As a basic regulation on vibration, the “Urban Area Environmental Vibration Standard” (GB10070-88) was enacted by the Directorate General of Environmental Protection at that time in 1988.

Scope of application

This standard was established to thoroughly enforce the Environmental Conservation Act (trial) and regulate urban environmental vibration pollution, and based on this, the standard value of urban environmental vibration, the applicable area range and the monitoring method were to be stipulated. As a target, it applies to the environments in urban areas.

Standard value and utilization area range

(1) Standard values
The standard value of plumb bob Z amplitude for each type of city is as shown in the table below.

(Unit: dB)

Applicable area range Daytime Nighttime
Special Residential Area 65 65
Residential / Educational Area 70 67
Mixed Area / Commercial Central Area 75 72
Industrial Concentration Area 75 72
Both Sides along Main Traffic Road 75 72
Both Sides along Railway Trunk Line 80 80