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Chinese city government denies 'air pollution fees'

2013-11-27 09:45 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

The northern Chinese city of Anguo on Tuesday denied claims that its government had imposed "air pollution fees" on local households.

A media report that caught public attention on Monday claimed that the city in Hebei Province began to levy the 100-yuan (16.3 US dollars) air pollution fee this year.

The report cited a local resident as saying the money was collected along with the public heating fees. It questioned why the city "asked the people to pay the bill" after receiving pollution control funds from the central government.

However, the government of Anguo told Xinhua that it launched an investigation into the claim but found no levying of such fees.

The charge mentioned in the report was actually garbage and sewage disposal fees that the city had recently collected, it said.

The report of the controversial fees surfaced as Hebei is under pressure to tackle its severe air pollution arising from its heavy industries, which has allegedly also contributed to the smoggy weather in neighboring Beijing.

In October, the central government budgeted 5 billion yuan for air pollution control in several northern provinces, cities and regions surrounding Beijing, with more support to Hebei as it faced "tougher tasks of pollution treatment."

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