Prosecutors pursue over 1,000 Yellow River violations
Prosecutors filed 1,097 cases over illegal occupation, mining and construction in the Yellow River Basin by the end of last month, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said on Thursday.
They have also issued 1,029 procuratorial advices during the campaign, which was launched by the top court and the Ministry of Water Resources in December to fight ecological damage of the basin.
The Yellow River flows through nine provinces and autonomous regions: Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan and Shandong.
The campaign, which will run for a year, has cleaned up about 1.14 billion square meters of polluted water, torn down 808,000 square meters of illegal constructions, and cleared away 1.38 million metric tons of household and construction waste.
Zhang Xueqiao, deputy chief prosecutor of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said that with the assistance of the Water Resources Ministry, regional governments, local prosecutors and the public, the ecology of the Yellow River had been improved.
"We should not ignore that the ecological pressure and the environmental situation in the Yellow River basin are still severe," Zhang added.
"The ecological management of the basin involves work both upstream and downstream of the river. Different administrative regions and different industries — every sector needs to shoulder their responsibilities," he said.
Prosecutors have also initiated 10 public interest litigation cases during the campaign so far, Zhang said.
Li Zimin, deputy chief prosecutor of the People's Procuratorate of Henan, said there was still a long way to go to ensure the ecological protection of the Yellow River.
The lack of unified regulations was one of the main reasons, Li said.
At present, the regulations on the protection of the Yellow River are scattered through more than 30 legal documents, which makes it difficult to solve disputes in different regions and industries operating in the river basin.
The ineffective management system also affects governance. Over 10 departments are involved in the governance of the river and the land along its banks, resulting in overlapping responsibilities, he added.
Li suggested accelerating the introduction of legislation on the ecological protection of the Yellow River and formulating one management plan for the entire Yellow River basin.
"We should explore establishing an inspection and supervision mechanism for the whole basin and forming protection for the river based on the rule of law," Li said.
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