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Title:
Case of Environmental Pollution by the Defendant Entity Deqing Minghe Thermal Insulation Materials Co., Ltd. and the Accused QI Erming
Party:
China
Region:
Asia and the Pacific
Date of text:
January 01, 2020
Court name:
The Primary People's Court of Deqing County of Zhejing Province (浙江省德清县人民法院)
Justice(s):
Judge XU Tingting
Judge XU Jinrong
Judge PENG Weiwei
Reference number:
(2020) Zhe 05 Min Chu No. 115 ((2020) 浙05民初115号)
Abstract:

Facts

The defendant entity Deqing Minghe Thermal Insulation Materials Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Minghe Company") was established on March 8, 2017. It mainly engages in the production of polyurethane (PU) rigid foam composite polyether thermal insulation materials, and the wholesale and retail of PU thermal insulation materials, raw chemical materials (excluding hazardous chemicals and precursor chemicals), plastic materials and construction materials. The accused QI Erming is the company's legal representative. During the period from August 2017 to June 2019, knowing that trichlorofluoromethane is controlled ozone depleting substance (ODS) and that it is prohibited from being used in production, QI Erming still purchased it from others and used it in the production of PU rigid foam composite polyether thermal insulation materials in Minghe Company. During that period, Minghe Company purchased 849.5 tons of trichlorofluoromethane in total and discharged 3,049.7 kg trichlorofluoromethane waste gas in the course of production by using trichlorofluoromethane.

Judgment

In the trial of the first instance, Deqing Primary People's Court, Zhejiang held that defendant entity Minghe Company used trichlorofluoromethane in its production of thermal insulation materials and sold such materials are in violation of the state regulations, which seriously polluted the environment. The acts of the defendant entity constituted the crime of environmental pollution. The accused QI Erming, as legal representative of the defendant entity, knowing that trichlorofluoromethane was prohibited from being used in production, voluntarily purchased it andit in the production of thermal insulation materials, and sold such materials causing serious environmental pollution. Thus, he should also be subject to criminal liability for the crime of environmental pollution. The court of first instance sentenced Minghe Company to a fine of 700,000 Yuan and sentenced QI Erming to a fixed-term imprisonment of ten months with a fine of 50,000 Yuan for committing the crime of environmental pollution.

基本案情

被告单位明禾公司成立于201738日,主要从事聚氨酯硬泡组合聚醚保温材料的生产,以及聚氨酯保温材料、化工原料(除危险化学品及易制毒化学品)、塑料材料、建筑材料批发零售,法定代表人为被告人祁尔明。20178月至20196月期间,被告人祁尔明在明知三氯一氟甲烷系受控消耗臭氧层物质,且被明令禁止用于生产使用的情况下,仍向他人购买,并用于被告单位明禾公司生产聚氨酯硬泡组合聚醚保温材料。期间,被告单位明禾公司共计购买三氯一氟甲烷849.5吨。经核算,被告单位明禾公司在使用三氯一氟甲烷生产过程中,造成三氯一氟甲烷废气排放为3049.7千克。

裁判结果

浙江省德清县人民法院一审认为,被告单位明禾公司违反国家规定,使用三氯一氟甲烷用于生产保温材料并出售,严重污染环境,其行为已构成污染环境罪。被告人祁尔明作为被告单位法定代表人,明知三氯一氟甲烷禁止用于生产,主动购入用于公司生产保温材料并销售,造成环境严重污染,亦应当以污染环境罪追究刑事责任。一审法院以污染环境罪,判处被告单位明禾公司罚金70万元,判处被告人祁尔明有期徒刑10个月,并处罚金5万元。

Key environmental legal questions:

Implications

This is China's first criminal case of environmental pollution caused by the illegal use of controlled ozone depleting substances (ODS), and also the first case where substantial punishments have been applied for illegal use of controlled ODS. As controlled ODS, trichlorofluoromethane (commonly known as "freon") is a hazardous substance that pollutes the air. As one of contracting states of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, China has always attached great importance to the performance of international environmental conventions. On September 27, 2010, China issued the "List of Controlled Ozone Depleting Substances in China", where as substance in the first category of CFCs, trichlorofluoromethane is completely prohibited. The trial and judgment of this case have expressly showed the attitude of "zero tolerance" of the Chinese courts in severely cracking down on ODS-related illegal activities, played good roles in punishing, warning and educating the relevant industries of PU foam and to the public, and demonstrated the accomplishment of judiciary in firmly upholding the achievements in the protection of global ozone layer and advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

典型意义

本案系全国首例因违法使用受控消耗臭氧层物质(ODS)引发的污染环境刑事案件,也是迄今为止国内聚氨酯泡沫行业首起因违法使用ODS被判实刑的刑事案件。三氯一氟甲烷(俗称氟利昂)为受控消耗臭氧层物质,属于对大气污染的有害物质。我国是《保护臭氧层维也纳公约》和《关于消耗臭氧层物质的蒙特利尔议定书》的缔约国之一,一贯高度重视国际环境公约履约工作,于2010927日即发布《中国受控消耗臭氧层物质清单》,其中三氯一氟甲烷作为第一类全氯氟烃,被全面禁止使用。本案的正确审理和判决,明确表明人民法院严厉打击ODS违法行为的“零容忍”态度,对聚氨酯泡沫等相关行业和社会公众具有良好的惩戒、警示和教育作用,体现了司法机关坚定维护全球臭氧层保护成果,推动构建人类命运共同体的责任担当。