In­spec­tions put pres­sure on pol­luters in 28 cities Sus­tained ef­fort brings quicker re­me­dial ac­tion from com­pa­nies

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN in Han­dan, He­bei zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

One month into the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion’s year­long in­spec­tion of 28 north­ern cities — which is un­cov­er­ing vi­o­la­tions on an al­most daily ba­sis — com­pa­nies are feel­ing the pres­sure to re­duce pol­lu­tion.

The cities that have re­ceived feed­back have re­sponded quickly and thor­oughly, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal of­fi­cials and the bosses of the com­pa­nies tar­geted in the cam­paign, which is fo­cused on the Bei­jin­gre­gion.

Yun­tais­han Ce­ment’s fac­tory in Wuan, He­bei prov­ince, was or­dered to halt pro­duc­tion on April 9, just two days into the in­spec­tion, af­ter it was found with raw ma­te­ri­als piled out­doors and no way to pre­vent dust pol­lu­tion.

The com­pany was fined 120,000 yuan ($17,400) by the city’s en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau and given un­til the end of May to up­grade its equip­ment or re­main shut down.

“The im­prove­ments to re­duce emis­sions will cost about 2 mil­lion yuan, which is not a small in­vest­ment,” said Zhang Xin­chang, the plant’s man­ager. “But now is not a time for bar­gain­ing.”

Com­pared with pre­vi­ous in­spec­tions, the city gov­ern­ment is tak­ing a tougher stance, Zhang added.

In fact, Guo Quan­sheng, Wuan’s vice-mayor, said that based on the Yun­tais­han case the Wuan author­i­ties de­cided to launch a sweep of the city’s 13 other ce­ment fac­to­ries. This re­sulted in three more be­ing tem­po­rar­ily closed for pol­lu­tion vi­o­la­tions, while all were or­dered to up­grade their equip­ment.

“The vi­o­la­tions ex­posed in one plant be­came a warn­ing for us to check the en­tire in­dus­try,” Gao said.

Cui Hongzhi, head of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion forHan­dan, He­bei’s sec­ond-largest city by land area, said gov­ern­ment agen­cies cov­er­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, econ­omy and com­merce have been given the re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­sur­ing that prob­lems iden­ti­fied by the min­istry’s in­spec­tion teams are fixed.

Han­dan has a large con­cen­tra­tion of iron, steel, ce­ment, and cok­ing busi­nesses. Be­tween April 8 and 16, the city or­dered 26 com­pa­nies to re­duce or sus­pend pro­duc­tion, closed 14 com­pa­nies per­ma­nently and is­sued fines to­tal­ing 25 mil­lion yuan, the min­istry said.

Author­i­ties said many prob­lems have al­ready been re­solved in neigh­bor­ing Xing­tai. Si Guo­liang, its en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion chief, said 158 of the 173 vi­o­la­tions logged by in­spec­tors had been ad­dressed.

It’s the first time such an in­ten­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tion has con­tin­ued with­out a break, as pre­vi­ous ones were only con­ducted on days with heavy smog, he said, adding that the author­i­ties will visit the polluting com­pa­nies fre­quently to guar­an­tee the prob­lems are com­pletely solved.

“We will take it as an op­por­tu­nity to re­duce air pol­lu­tion,” he said.

LIU YING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Shi Guangci (right), a master at Hongfu Tem­ple in Huaiyang, He­nan prov­ince, gives a fig­urine of Bud­dha a bath on Wed­nes­day, when be­liev­ers com­mem­o­rated the birth of Shakya­muni (Prince Sid­dhartha Gau­tama), the founder of Bud­dhism.

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