China will implement lifelong liability for "lake chiefs" as it rolls out the new system with government heads overseeing protection of lakes in their areas.
"Government heads may be transferred to other areas and not work as lake chiefs any more. During their time working as lake chiefs, there might be some problems in lake protection. The damage from these problems may not show up immediately, but several years later.
"No matter where they have been transferred to, they will be held accountable if the root of environmental damage dates back to the time when they were in the post," said Zhou Xuewen, vice-minister of water resources in a news conference organized by the State Council Information Office on Friday.
Zhou made the comments one day after the central government published a guideline and asked that the system be implemented across the country by the end of this year.
In the system, heads of provincial, municipal, county and township governments will work as lake chiefs to coordinate protection and management of lakes and their tributaries.
Heads of provincial governments will work as chiefs of those major lakes in their regions and those that cross different provincial regions. Municipal heads will serve as chiefs of lakes that cross different counties.
The top chiefs will be responsible for drafting protection tasks and tailored protection measures for different lakes and clarifying the responsibilities for chiefs of all levels, according to the guideline. (Source: China Daily)