More than 2,000 officials from Party and government departments have been punished for malpractice related to environmental policy implementation.
Last month, inspectors were dispatched to eight provinces and autonomous regions -- including Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Henan, Guangxi, Yunnan and Ningxia -- to review the work of local governments.
In Ningxia, officials from Yongning County were held liable for failing to shut down a metalware factory that had been the subject of public ire because of its smoke and dust emissions. The official line was that the factory had ceased production in August 2015, but it appeared to have continued to operate right up to July 2016.
The implicated officials had to apologize and were removed from their posts.
"Environmental inspectors mainly focus on provincial- and city-level Party and government organs," said Zhai Qing, vice minister of environmental protection.
Malpractice will be reported to the central government and it will be considered during the performance assessment and appointment of senior officials, Zhai said.
During the month, inspectors heard from provincial regulators, interviewed officials, carried out field investigations and promoted the hotline and email contact channels for the public.
Environmental cases reported by the public mainly covered air pollution, water pollution, noise and solid waste. Most have been dealt with.
As of present, more than one hundred criminals have been detained by the police for harming or polluting the environment. It is estimated that fines in the eight regions will surpass 100 million yuan (15 million U.S. dollars).
According to the plan, environmental inspectors will be sent to all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in the two years following 2016.