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The Political Ecology of Pollution Enforcement in China: A case from Sichuans rural Industrial Secto


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Title: The Political Ecology of Pollution Enforcement in China: A case from Sichuans rural Industrial Secto

  • The Political Ecology of Pollution Enforcement in
    China A case from Sichuans rural Industrial
  • Author
    Bryan Tilt
  • Presented
    byHuang Zhuoran

  • Introduction
  • Case Review
  • Political Ecology in Pollution enforcement
  • Conclusion

  • This article uses a case study approach to
    examine the processes and consequences of
    pollution enforcement in an industrial township
    in rural Sichuan, and it uses political ecology
    as an analytical framework for understanding how
    pollution enforcement is shaped by competing
    values, goals and priorities.

  • Political Ecology is a theoretical framework that
    combine the concerns of ecology and a broadly
    defined political economy.
  • In analysing diverse environmental issues,
    political ecology tends to focus on the
    structural, economic, social and political
    processes underlying environmental change.

Basic Information
Basic Information
  • Futian town about 3500 people, locate at the
    western edge of Panzhihua City in Sichuan
  • Futian lag behind the national average on many
    development indicators. Its average annual
    household income in 2005 is RMB 3854 yuan.

Futians Economic development path
  • Prior to 1980s, economic life in Futian is
    centered on subsistence agriculture.
  • Township and village enterprises began operating
    in Futian in the 1980s. Local factories mainly
    provide industrial inputs to Panzhihua Steel and
    Iron (Chinas 3rd largest state-own steel
    smelting plant).

Futians Economic development path
  • The Futian town government relied on industry for
    85 of its operating revenue.
  • The so-called Futian Model was held up as a
    regional example of harnessing industrial
    development to provide employment and raising
    local living standards.

Futians Economic development path
  • Privatization of industrial firms in Futian began
    in 1999 and end in 2002.
  • After privatization, local government lose the
    industrial profits as a direct revenues, but the
    majority of township operating revenues were
    still derived from industrial sources in the form
    of taxes.

Influence on environment
  • Two decades of industrial pollution have
    dramatically altered Futians environment.
  • Pollutants including the daily raised black smoke
    from industrial factories, untreated effluent
    from coal-washing plant .etc.
  • Most of the pollute emissions and effluents are
    violate the SEPAs (the National environment
    Protection Agency) standards.

Influence on environment
Influence on environment
  • In 1996, State Council issued the legislation
    singled out for closure 15 categories of township
    and village enterprises that were considered
    particularly deleterious to the environment, the
    regulations succeeded in closing some of the
    worst polluter nationwide, but there effect in
    Futian was negligible.

Influence on environment
  • 15 categories including
  • 1.Paper mill (???) 2.Tannery (???)
  • 3. Dye processing plant (???)
  • 4. Indigenous method (??) coking (?), sulfur (?),
    arsenic (?), mercury (?), smelt lead zinc (?),
    refine the oil (??), chooses a gold (??),
    pesticide (??), bleaches and dyes
    (??)electroplating (??), asbestus products (????)
    and radioactivity products (?????)

Influence on environment
  • The water emission from coal-washing plant
    affects residents health, water quality for
    drinking and irrigation, but local and municipal
    level government do little efforts on this issue
    for such reasons
  • Futian is the westernmost township in the
    district, hard to monitoring.
  • These factories are crucially important for the
    town government from economic perspectives, so
    they considered the economic profit outweigh to
    environment protection issue.
  • So local residents complaint to the local
    government about the industrial pollution are

Influence on environment
  • The watershed event in the enforcement process
    occurred in Dec. 2002, a news programme from
    Sichuan TV (provincial TV station) which alerted
    by local farmers in Futian, expose the weak
    pollution enforcement in Futian to the public.
  • This media scrutiny had immediate consequences,
    after an inspection in Jan. 2003, EPB ordered the
    closure of all the industrial factories in Futian

Futians Economic development path
  • The township government operating revenues was
    severely affected by the EPB-mandated factory
    closure. Local cadres believe that district level
    tax incentives for the town factories to invest
    in environmental mitigation technologies maybe
    more appropriate approach from both economic
    growth and environment protection view.

Futians Economic development path
Political Ecology in Pollution enforcement
  • Rural Industrial sector is one of the most
    extraordinary parts of the Chinas reform success
    during the past 25 years.
  • Rapid rural industrialization also lead to a
    heavy cost to the environment.

Political Ecology in Pollution enforcement
  • Pollution problems include both air and water
    pollution emissions that threaten the health and
    well-being of rural resident and the integrity of
    rural industries.
  • Rural firms currently emit roughly 2/3 of Chinas
    air and water pollution.

Political Ecology in Pollution enforcement
  • Chinas national pollution emissions standards
    are relatively strict
  • Enforcement is the responsibility of 2500
    Environmental Protection Bureaus (EPBs)
  • with in municipal and county governments.

Political Ecology in Pollution enforcement
  • EPB officials exercise considerable discretion in
    prioritizing and carrying out enforcement
  • But exactly what factors influence regulatory
    behavior within EPBs is poorly understood.
  • Focus on determinants of pollution enforcement

(No Transcript)
Three Factors affect EPBs enforcement
  • 1

Three Factors affect EPBs enforcement
  • 2

Three Factors affect EPBs enforcement
  • 3

Three Factors affect EPBs enforcement
Relate to the Case
  • 1.From the Policy Factor, although EPB
    enforcement actions were guided by State Council
    and SEPA policy, but enforcement in Futian is
  • 2.The economic Factor is the main reason for the
    poor enforcement, because they evaluate these
    industrial factories are vital operating revenue
    source for the town government.

Relate to the Case
  • 3. On the surface, the Civil Society Factors are
    most powerless among the three factors, but the
    media exposure plays the key role in Futians
    pollution enforcement case.
  • 4. The strategy which EPB used is also worth to
    be discuss. (At the beginning lack of monitoring
    but finally ordered to closure without warning
    and negotiation)

  • The decentralized nature of environmental
    oversight requires an examination of both policy
    formulation and implementation, which is crucial
    in China.
  • EPB officials regulatory decisions and behaviour
    are guided by a range of policy and fiscal
    factors, as well as concern about citizen and
    media mobilization.

  • Although EPBs have a clear mandate to enact SEPA
    policy, but they are also embedded with
    county-level and municipal-level governments,
    which have an over-arching mission to promote
    economic development and industrialization.

  • The pollution enforcement decisions are shaped
    not only by central policy but also by economic
    and social concerns at the regional and local
  • China will face difficult choices about how best
    to balance economic development and environment