70% of inspected firms broke environment laws
monitoring equipment and taking targeted measures, Tian said.
Data from the ministry showed that in 2016 China imposed 6.63 billion yuan ($963 million) in fines on polluters, 56 percent above 2015 levels.
And companies that received fines on a daily basis — a new measure in the revised Environmental Protection Law — have seen total fines reaching 264 million yuan in the first quarter of 2017.
In addition, environmental authorities sealed the production equipment of polluting companies in 1,228 cases in the first three months of the year, triple the number in the same period last year.
Independent assessment reports from academic institutions applauded the stronger enforcement of environmental laws.
Wang Canfa, environmental law professor from China University of Political Science and Law, said the enforcement has effectively deterred polluters, and his team’s surveys found that excessive emission problems from heavy metal companies had been reduced.
Bollywood star Aamir Khan (right) learns basic tai chi postures from Liu Suibin, master of the Qingcheng sect of Taoism, at Qingcheng Mountain, one of the four sacred mountains for Taoist culture, in Sichuan province on Thursday.