Pol­lu­tion in­spec­tors sharply crit­i­cize Tian­jin, An­hui, Shanxi

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

En­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tors sent by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment un­cov­ered se­vere prob­lems in Tian­jin and the prov­inces of An­hui and Shanxi dur­ing a month­long re­view and said slack lead­er­ship has led to en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion in some ar­eas.

The in­spec­tors trans­ferred 11,527 pol­lu­tion-re­lated cases to the pro­vin­cial-level gov­ern­ments, fol­low­ing the high­estlevel en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tion since late April.

The gov­ern­ments are re­quired to sub­mit im­prove­ment plans within 30 days and make them pub­lic.

In the three pro­vin­cial-level ar­eas, 1,686 gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials had been held ac­count­able for pol­lu­tion as of the end of June. Of­fi­cials from Shanxi were the most nu­mer­ous — more than 1,000. An­other 136 were de­tained, ac­cord­ing to Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion state­ments on Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

About 10,000 pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies were or­dered to sus­pend pro­duc­tion or shut down by the end of June, the min­istry said. Of those, about half (4,331) were from Tian­jin. En­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­i­ties have is­sued fines to­tal­ing 1.25 bil­lion yuan ($185 mil­lion).

The com­mon thread in th­ese cases was that leader- ship was weak and of­fi­cials failed to give suf­fi­cient at­ten­tion to pol­lu­tion con­trol.

Tian­jin re­ceived an un­usu­ally harsh eval­u­a­tion.

“There is a clear gap in Tian­jin in meet­ing the re­quire­ments from the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to match its po­si­tion as a mu­nic­i­pal­ity and meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of the pub­lic,” in­spec­tors said on Sat­ur­day.

Some lead­ers did not in­sist on ad­her­ence to tough mea­sures on air pol­lu­tion, and air qual­ity ac­tu­ally wors­ened in some pe­ri­ods. Like­wise, the bu­reaus re­spon­si­ble for agri­cul­ture and ur­ban green­ing did not work to­gether, but evaded their duty to build a garbage pro­cess­ing plant, said Jiang Jufeng, head of the in­spec­tion team.

In Shanxi, in­spec­tors also found that in­suf­fi­cient at­ten­tion had been paid by pro­vin­cial and city lead­ers, as the con­cen­tra­tion of ma­jor air­borne pol­lu­tants in­creased in 2016 and con­tin­ued to worsen this year.

Lead­ers in Lyu­liang, Shanxi prov­ince, were sum­moned to talk with the min­istry twice be­cause of se­vere pol­lu­tion. But they did not pay suf­fi­cient at­ten­tion, and mea­sures to cor­rect prob­lems lagged be­hind sched­ule, said Yang Song, the team leader in Shanxi.

For ex­am­ple, 966 small coal- fired boil­ers in the city, which should have been phased out by the end of 2014, were still in op­er­a­tion at the end of 2016, hurt­ing air qual­ity.

In ad­di­tion, six coal mines con­tin­ued to op­er­ate il­le­gally in­side a nat­u­ral pro­tec­tion zone in Jinzhong.

In An­hui, in­spec­tors found that the pro­vin­cial wa­ter re­sources bu­reau did not su­per­vise drains, and that waste­water con­tained ex­ces­sive pol­lu­tants. Also, of­fi­cials in He­fei’s Binhu New Dis­trict al­lowed con­struc­tion waste to pile up and harm wet­land, they said.

In some places in the three ar­eas, half the sewage was dis­charged with­out treat­ment.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The to­tal green area in the Kubuqi Desert has ex­panded by more than 6,000 square kilo­me­ters in the past three decades.

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