9,300 com­pa­nies shut in pol­lu­tion crack­down

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN in Bei­jing zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has been strength­en­ing its en­vi­ron­men­tal over­sight un­der a re­vised law, shut­ting down 9,300 com­pa­nies and sus­pend­ing work at another 15,000 in the first six months of the year.

A re­vised En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Law with more “teeth” took ef­fect on Jan 1, hold­ing more of­fi­cials and com­pany man­agers ac­count­able for vi­o­la­tions, and stip­u­lat­ing that gov­ern­ments shoul­der the ma­jor re­spon­si­bil­ity for pro­tect­ing and im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

In the first half of the year, en­vi­ron­men­tal watch­dogs in­spected more than 620,000 com­pa­nies.

Nearly 300 com­pa­nies and branches were hit with daily fines reach­ing a to­tal of 236 mil­lion yuan ($38 mil­lion) for con­tin­ued vi­o­la­tions dur­ing the pe­riod, and man­agers in 740 cases were pros­e­cuted.

In Wuhan, Hubei province, for ex­am­ple, the Gao Xin Ther­mal Plant was found to be ex­ces­sively emit­ting air pol­lu­tants and the Wuhan en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau handed out daily fines to­tal­ing 2.1mil­lion yuan un­til the com­pany in­stalled the proper equip­ment.

How­ever, Shaanxi Coal Chem­i­cal Energy Co in Xianyang, Shaanxi province, which faced a to­tal of 15.8 mil­lion yuan in daily fines, has re­fused to pay, claim­ing that the bureau didn’t act as re­quired un­der the law.

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion has sum­moned lead­ers of 10 cities to re­port on pol­lu­tion since the be­gin­ning of the year.

Af­ter “talks” with the na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal watchdog, the cities have taken stronger mea­sures against the of­fi­cials re­spon­si­ble, the min­istry said on Wed­nes­day.

So far, 57 of­fi­cials have been sus­pended or pun­ished af­ter be­ing found re­spon­si­ble for air and wa­ter pol­lu­tion.

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