Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
Large state-owned businesses, local governments and thousands of small private enterprises have been implicated in an unusually public pollution crackdown in China in recent months.
What started with inspections in the Hebei region around heavily polluted Beijing—and where 176,000 small businesses could be forced to close by the end of September—was extended to all four major municipalities and 10 provinces as of Aug. 2.
“This is unprecedented for the central government to go this far,” Ma Jun, director of the Institute for Public & Environmental Affairs, told Bloomberg BNA, pointing to inspection reports being publicly released. “Basically what you have is an open document highly critical of many local and city governments.”
Ma, one of the country’s leading environmentalists whose institute has been a force in pushing for transparency regarding business pollution, also noted that state-owned companies including China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) were being singled out in these announcements, when they might have been reprimanded behind closed doors in the past.
Sinopec and the other state-owned companies contacted by Bloomberg BNA had no immediate comment.
During the first half of 2017, Beijing had 99 days in which the city’s air quality conformed with government regulations—eight days fewer than last year, according to multiple news reports. However, levels of sulfur dioxide, which can come from vehicle exhausts, fell by 15 percent during that period.
“Companies without proper environmental performance are now in quite big or potentially big trouble,” Ma said. “For a long time the cost of violation was low, but the stakes are getting higher.”
In recent years, China has begun to link environmental performance with job promotions for government officials.
Pollution reports have been released this year in Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Shanghai municipalities, and the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Liaoning, Gansu, Hunan, Anhui, Guizhou and Hubei.
The government said the inspections will continue nationwide.
Among the specifics: Hubei province in central China, where air pollution has been a major problem, must halt all coal-production within two years; Shanghai and Chongqing must move their dirtiest industries to industrial parks away from drinking water sources; and more than 1,000 unlicensed businesses in Beijing’s Daxing District were ordered closed.
As part of its investigation, the central government said local officials in Hunan province failed to properly handle environmental violations linked to China Minmetals since 2013.
And Gansu province must clean up a massive illegal coal mining operation discovered three years ago in the Qilian Mountains national nature reserve, and led by China Kingho Energy Group.
State-owned companies ordered to curb air pollution from volatile organic compounds include Beijing Yanshan Petrochemical Co., Dagang Petrochemical Co., Tianjin Petrochemical Co., Sinopec, Shanghai Petrochemical Co., Ltd., and Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corp.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Standaert in Shenzhen, China at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of Environmental Protection announcement is available, in Chinese, at http://www.mep.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/qt/201707/t20170725_418448.htm
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)