Saturday, April 6, 2013

S. Korean Updates: S. Korea aims to toughen penalties for environmental pollution (4 Apr 2013)

S. Korea aims to toughen penalties for environmental pollution

April 04, 2013
Yonhap News Agency
(2nd LD) industrial output-February
environment ministry-policy plan
S. Korea aims to toughen penalties for environmental pollution
SEJONG, April 4 (Yonhap) -- The government said Thursday it will force chemical manufacturers to close down their business sites if they are responsible for accidents three times in a row within a certain time frame, in response to a series of recent chemical leaks.

In its 2013 policy plan reported to President Park Geun-hye, the Ministry of Environment said it will introduce the so-called "three-strike system," which is expected to be adopted as early as the end of next year, and will forcibly revoke the business rights of such manufacturers.

Ministry officials said they will review related statistics before deciding the exact length of the period.

The ministry said it will also adopt a system to oblige polluters to fully compensate their victims by strictly applying a principle of mandating polluters be financially responsible for environmental disasters.

The manufactures that handle toxic materials must also get insurance policies that cover environmental damage beyond their compensation ability, they added.

The toughened regulation comes as the nation has seen a series of chemical-related accidents in recent months, including a fatal leakage from Samsung Electronics Co.'s chip plant in January that killed one worker.

The ministry also said it will entirely readjust a reduction target of greenhouses gases set by former President Lee Myung-bak, after judging that such a time frame would be unrealistic to achieve.

In 2009, the Lee administration committed to cut greenhouse house gas emissions by 30 percent from its business-as-usual (BAU) level by 2020. 

Despite such a widely-publicized plan, a ministry report released in February showed that the greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 increased by 9.8 percent from a year earlier.

The ministry will announce its new BAU level goal in August, officials said, but added that they do not plan to change the figure of the 30 percent reduction.



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