China's environmental watchdog has removed three cities and two industrial zones from its blacklist a week after clearing five other areas.
It thus leaves only one county and two industrial zones on the list: Hejin County in North China's coal base of Shanxi, Lanzhou Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone in Gansu and Puyuan Economic Development Zone in Henan.
The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said in a press briefing on Sunday that the local governments of the five areas recently removed from the blacklist have "worked out solutions to correct the longstanding pollution problems".
The five areas are: Baiyin city in Northwest China's Gansu Province, Chaohu and Bengbu cities in East China's Anhui Province, Handan Economic Development Zone in North China's Hebei Province and Shenxian Industrial Park in East China's Shandong Province.
According to SEPA, the water quality in a heavily polluted main river channel in Baiyin has considerably improved and the city government has stopped a local factory from billowing out chemical smoke into the air.
Bengbu has closed small chemical workshops and provided clean drinking water to local residents, the SEPA noted.
In Chaohu, Wanwei Group, a major polluter of a local water resource, has been suspended from operation and forced to rectify its waste system after paying a default waste fare of 11.74 million yuan ($1.56 million) and a fine of 500,000 yuan.
The SEPA will keep an eye on these five areas to make sure they continue to do things right, the statement said.
"It proved that such campaigns are effective in pushing local governments into action," said the statement.
Pan Yue, SEPA vice-minister, said the campaign was just a special administrative measure to curb pollution.A comprehensive environmental protection system should be established to limit the development of industries that are heavy polluters and big energy consumers, he said.