The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said some 5,600 environmental inspectors will be sent to Beijing, Tianjin, and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas. (Photo/Chinanews.com)
More than two dozen cities in northern China are in for a strict year-long inspection of measures to combat air pollution, in the largest ever national-level series of checks on record, the government announced Wednesday.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said some 5,600 environmental inspectors will be sent to Beijing, Tianjin, and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas.
Inspectors will check on the implementation of pollution control targets and emission standards, in a mission called "2+26".
From February 15 to March 18, the ministry worked with local authorities in Beijing, Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, and Shanxi for air quality inspections for the first quarter of 2017.
Eighteen inspection teams made up of about 260 members have investigated more than 8,500 enterprises, of which 3,119 businesses are classified as polluters.
After the first quarter's inspections, the ministry kept seven teams in Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Baoding, Langfang and Handan to continue monitoring the cities.
In a separate statement, the ministry named and shamed local governments and enterprises following the inspections by the seven teams.
Several enterprises, including a rubber plant under Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Company, were criticized for "inadequate pollution control efforts," while some governments, including those of Tangshan city and Yutian county, were slammed for inaction and neglect.
The MEP vowed "systematic" inspections with high pressure on local authorities and promised zero tolerance for those who violate environmental laws and regulations.
The new year-long plan is aimed at intensifying the fight against air pollution as cities suffered from more smoggy days in January, with northern areas the worst affected.
According to the plan, all municipal areas of the 28 cities need to lower their carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter air pollutants to emission limits; coal in Tianjin, Hebei and the Bohai Sea are required to be mainly transported by rail, and the Bohai Sea port is prohibited from accepting diesel trucks to transport coal.
In addition, local governments of the 28 cities are required to close all the polluting enterprises, and achieve the construction of coal-free districts in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Langfang, and Baoding.
The 28 cities are Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Baoding, Langfang, Cangzhou, Hengshui, Handan, Xingtai, Taiyuan, Yangquan, Changzhi, Jincheng, Jinan, Zibo, Liaocheng, Dezhou, Binzhou, Jining, Heze, Zhengzhou, Xinxiang, Hebi, Anyang, Jiaozuo, Puyang, and Kaifeng.