Illegal industrial dumping and unlicensed chemical processing are the two major environmental offenses that have been uncovered in the past two years.
Wu Qizhou, deputy director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said last year 3,317 cases of environmental violations were busted, up 28 percent on 2015.
Wu added that fines of 251 million yuan ($37 million) were imposed on offenders last year, up 45 percent on 2015.
In one case, waste coal tar stored in oil tanks were directly dumped to pits or discharged to ponds, severely polluting soil and waterways, causing economic loss and restoration fees up to 16 million yuan.
The case involved seven people, and last month they received sentences ranging from two years and nine months to four years, according to prosecutors of Minhang District.
One of the seven, surnamed Xu, ran a company making coal tar. His company closed in February 2014. It took him more than two years to deal with his assets, and in March last year, he sold nine oil tanks capable of containing a total of 450 tons of coal tar and other equipment for 10,000 yuan.
The buyer surnamed Zhang then cut the tanks at the site, causing severe leakages and contamination.
In the first five months this year, the administration has handled 2,005 cases and imposed a fine of 180 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 99.5 percent and 149 percent respectively, Wu said.