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Hard line for cement plants that foul the environment

By Wu Wencong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-19 07:47

Seventeen listed cement companies have been found to often violate environmental protection laws by illegally discharging airborne pollutants, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The report, conducted by several independent institutes and environmental NGOs and led by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, also accused the companies of failing to disclose environmental information as required.

The 17 cement companies have about 170 recorded environmental violations between them.

Using the institute's "Green Stocks Database" on its website, the public can find the environmental supervision records of 850 companies' subsidiaries and affiliates by typing in the company's name.

The environmental supervision records all come from information published by local environmental protection departments or newspapers quoting official sources.

Violations listed in the records include the lack of denitrification facilities, faulty monitoring appliances and excessive emissions.

"The State Council recently released 10 measures to control airborne pollution and achieve energy and emissions reductions. The extremely energy-intensive cement, steel and thermal energy production industries, especially those leading listed companies, need to share the heavy responsibility of reducing emissions and not disappoint the public," said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

China produces more than half of the world's cement. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country's cement output from January to May reached more than 866 million metric tons, up by 8.9 percent from the same period last year.

The cement industry is among the six most heavily polluting industries that were required by the Environmental Protection Ministry to meet international emission limits from March this year. Dust emissions from the cement industry accounted for about 30 percent of total industrial emissions in 2009.

"We found that this industry has shocking problems with dust and waste gas emissions. The cement industry's violations have deeply harmed the living environment and health of those who live near the factories," said Fang Yingjun from environmental NGO Green Jiangnan.

Subcompanies from four large cement companies that are members of the Cement Sustainability Initiative, which is described on its website as being "a global effort by 24 cement producers that believe there is a strong business case for the pursuit of sustainable development", appear in the report.

The environmental NGOs said they have contacted the 17 listed companies to inform them of the aforementioned pollution problems, but most of the offenders took an evasive stance.

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