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Blitz targets polluting plants
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-20 22:38

A nationwide blitz against polluting companies across the country began Tuesday in a bid to curb worsening environmental problems.

It is the third year that six ministries, including the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Supervision, have carried out the joint move.

Targets of the blitz, which will last from late April to November, will include issues like pollution of drinking water sources, river water contamination, solid waste and sewage treatment plant problems, and environmental impact assessment laws.

The blitz will also include the shut-down of small enterprises that use outdated filtering or clean-up techniques or follow policies that do not meet environmental laws and regulations.

During the national campaign, circular economic and clean production rules will be promoted. Both are seen as ways to help enterprises seek profits while protecting the environment.

Despite efforts made in previous years and shut-downs of polluters, the situation in the country is still serious, said Wang Jirong, vice-minister of SEPA, during a national teleconference Tuesday.

In recent years, complaints by the general public about environmental problems have been increasing by 20 per cent annually and the number of telephone complaints was up 330,000 last year.

After the national blitz against polluting enterprises during June and September last year, more than 7,300 enterprises across the country were shut down and more than 2,000 were ordered to stop production and take pollution treatment measures.

In addition, more than 1,000 companies had been asked to better treat the materials they discharge in a certain period of time so that what they put into the environment meets national standards.

Many local governments in China try to protect polluting enterprises to pump up development and often do not punish enterprises severely when they break the law.

"There is a saying among such enterprises that the cost of abiding by the laws is higher than violating them,'' said an official with the SEPA Environment Supervision Bureau.

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