China State Council of China releases Regulations on Administration of Pollutant Discharge Permits

On January 29, 2021, the State Council of China released “Regulations on the Administration of Pollutant Discharge Permits”, and the regulation will come into force on March 1, 2021. “Regulations on the Administration of Pollutant Discharge Permits” belongs to “Administrative Regulations” (equivalent to Japan’s government order), and the outline is as follows.

The current legislation “Measures on the Administration of Pollutant Discharge Permits” belongs to “Department Rules” (equivalent to Japan’s department orders)


Clarification of targets and classifications

Regulations on management targets

Enterprises, institutions, and other operators that shall implement pollutant discharge permit management in accordance with the provisions of related laws, shall apply for pollutant discharge permits in accordance with the regulation.

Regulations on classification management

    • Key management: The operators that produce or emit large amount of pollutants and have significant impacts on environment.
    • Simplified management: The operators that produce or emit small amount of pollutants and have little impacts on environment.

The above specific targets and classifications list is expected to be promulgated by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Clarification of enterprises responsibilities

The responsibilities are clearly defined as follows.

    • The locations and quantities of pollutant discharge outlets, the pollutant discharge methods, discharge destinations shall be consistent with the provisions of the pollutant discharge permit.
    • Pollutant discharge operators shall carry out self-monitoring, and keep the original records.
    • Operators that implement key management shall install and use automatic pollutant discharge monitoring equipment.
    • Operators shall truthfully record the pollutant emission concentrations and other information on the environment management ledger and disclose the emission information.

Strengthen the supervision and inspection

    • The competent authority of ecology and environment shall strengthen the supervision of during and after the approval of pollutant discharge permit, and incorporate the inspection of the pollutant discharge permit enforcement into the annual ecological environment enforcement plan.
    • The Ministry of Ecology and Environment shall supervise and inspect whether the discharge behaviors of the business operator in line with the provisions of the pollutant discharge permit by monitoring the national pollutant discharge permit management information platform and field monitoring.

Strengthen the punishment

Illegal acts against the provisions of the regulation shall be imposed on punishments such as continuous daily punishment, production restrictions and shut downs. The following is an example.

    • If the operator discharge pollutant without obtain the pollutant discharge permit, the competent authority of ecology environment shall order it to make corrections or restrict on its production, stop the production for rectification, and impose a fine of 200,000 yuan (about 3.26 million yen) to 1000,000 yuan (about 16.3 million yen). In the case of gross violation, after approved by the government which has the approval rights, the competent authority will order the operator to suspend or shut down their operations.


For the original text of the above regulation, please refer to the following URL (in simplified Chinese).


On March 29, 2022, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued “Guiding Opinions on Stepping up Law Enforcement and Oversight of Pollutant Discharge Permits” in order to oversee the pollutant discharge permit system more strictly. See more details below:
China steps up oversight of pollutant discharge permit system with heavier penalties

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