From January 1, 2018, the new environmental protection system has been taken effect and replaced the previous one which has been implemented for 40 years. 



More severe punishments to polluters under the new environmental protection system.

The new system has more teeth due to more stringent and specific implementation details, which helped plugged some loopholes in the old system.

It gives more specific definitions of the behaviors that undermining the ecosystem and lists more severe punishments to correspond to those rude behaviors.


Image: screenshot of the terms of the new environmental protection system

Under the new environmental protection system, there is no "pollutant discharge fee"  but it created a newborn tax in China - environmental tax. 

The tax is expected to up to 50 billion yuan annually, which is 2.84 times of the average pollutant discharge fee of the past 12 years. It's estimated the environmental tax accounts for 0.6%-1.4% of a company's output value.


Image: South China Morning Post. The infographic above shows 4 type of contaminations will be levied taxes.

Who will be levied the environmental tax?

According to the new system, companies directly discharge the above 4 types of contaminations within the territory of China will be levied taxes, it excludes:

  • Companies indirectly discharge pollutants

  • Residents

New environmental protection system hit many businesses in China hard. 

Many businesses appear to be underprepared to cope with the new taxation and are lagging behind in adapting their operational procedures to factor in the impact from it.

  • It is estimated that 40 percent of all China's factories have been shut down at some point which failed the inspection of environmental bureau officials in the past a few months.

  • As a result of these inspections over 80,000 factories have been hit with fines and criminal offenses as a result of their emissions.

  • The production of more than 500 car models have been suspended that do not meet its fuel economy standards, several automakers confirmed on January 2nd.

  • Tremendous factories along China's east coast have been temporarily stopped production and forced to move supply chains to other countries.

  • Easing demand for raw materials, factory activity softened due to the government’s ongoing efforts to curb pollution, cooling demand from factories for raw materials. Plus some wasted materials like plastics and metal are banned from import. With the strong investigation by China Customs, those wasted materials, which are favored by factories for re-process in the past, now factories have to abandon this manufacturing.

Factories have to upgrade, China opens the door for new areas.

Apart from the new environmental protection system, China recently announced their plan to reduce the concentration of hazardous fine particulate matter from 47 micrograms per cubic meter to 35 micrograms by the year 2035. 

The recent crackdown, tax, and fines appear to be at least partially in response to the new plan.

Factories will have to comply and find ways to both meet production goals and environmental laws. Some industries like textile sector, which was one of the culprits result in China's water pollution problems, ranks third in China for the amount of wastewater it discharges -- 3 billion tons a year is forced to have a fundamental change, a  new technology of using super bacteria to remove wastewater is sprouting. China's 'Clean Water' Campaign Forces Factories to Upgrade.

Not only business, our lifestyle also has to change?

Breathing tax for individuals

Although individuals are not the target for being taxed under the new environmental protection system, some ecologists and so-called scientists have already put out plans that tax on individuals.


Image: Google. Jiang Youxu, a scientist with the Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection at the Chinese Academy of Forestry, as well as a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Jiang Youxu has ever presented with a new concept: a “breathing tax”.He called for the government to consider imposing an environmental tax on businesses or even CO2-emitting citizens and he believes that since all citizens are emitters of CO2 [carbon dioxide], they should pay the costs of reducing energy use and cutting emissions”. 

Jiang was then quoted as saying: “Making citizens contribute 20 yuan to an environmental fund every month could be considered.”

Luckily, China SAYS NO to his suggestion! From those ecologists views, if we breathing deeper, speaking louder, having a shower longer, turning on lights and heaters, taking long distant flights... all these activities should be taxed, pay for our environmental unfriendly behaviors!

Economy + Ecology = ECOLOMY!

What if ecology wasn't about regression but about progress? What if sustainable living wasn't about changing our lifestyle and turn off the lights, turning down the heat and slowing down?

Bjarke Ingels Group presented us a society where the more energy you spend, the more energy you get, how does this society build?


Image:<YES IS MORE>, Bjarke Ingels 


Image:<YES IS MORE>, Bjarke Ingels 

Ecology initiatives or laws will not prosper in the real world if they work as viable economic models. And business models based on wearing down our natural resources are not viable models for long-term growth!

How do you think of the ECOLOMY model? Or you hold other opinions for the sustainable living?

Sources: HiTouch, South China Morning Post, China Daily, Forbes, Reuters, <Yes Is More> written by Bjarke Ingels 

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