China de­tains 720, im­poses $21.8-mil­lion fines in pol­lu­tion crack­down

Manila Bulletin - - World News -

BEI­JING (Reuters) — China de­tained 720 peo­ple and Bei­jing im­posed $21.8 mil­lion of fines for vi­o­lat­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion laws in 2016, ac­cord­ing to do­mes­tic me­dia on Thurs­day.

China is in the third year of a “war on pol­lu­tion” aimed at con­tain­ing the dam­age done to its air, soil and wa­ter af­ter decades of rapid eco­nomic growth. Just last week, Bei­jing faced se­vere pol­lu­tion alerts, which forced peo­ple to stay in­doors.

In 2016, 720 peo­ple were de­tained in China for dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency re­ported, cit­ing in­for­ma­tion dis­closed at a na­tional en­vi­ron­men­tal work con­fer­ence.

The agency added that Bei­jing re­jected 11 projects worth 97 bil­lion yuan ($14 bil­lion) due to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns last year.

Mean­while, Bei­jing filed 13,127 en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion cases last year, with fines to­tal­ing $21.8 mil­lion, the Shang­hai Daily said in a sep­a­rate re­port cit­ing lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­i­ties.

For 10,184 cases, fines of 8.7 mil­lion yuan were im­posed for pol­lu­tion from mo­bile emis­sion sources, said the pa­per.

Of these, more than 10,000 ve­hi­cles were pun­ished for ex­ces­sive ex­haust emis­sions, the pa­per added.

Hun­dreds of flights were can­celed and high­ways closed across north­ern China over the new year holiday as av­er­age con­cen­tra­tions of small breath­able par­ti­cles known as PM2.5 soared above 500 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in Bei­jing and sur­round­ing re­gions.

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