Polluters beginning to feel the pinch
A man with face mask in Anyang city, Henan province, Feb 25, 2014. [Photo/IC]
The Jinan public security authorities said the plant has been shut down and the obsolete boiler incapable of reducing its emissions removed. But that outcome has not been easily achieved, even as the Ministry of Environmental Protection ramps up its inspection efforts, which often involve dispatching special teams to pollution-plagued areas and shutting down heavy polluters.
The inspectors who were locked in the plant were taking part in the first of 25 rounds of inspections headed by the ministry, which has sent teams to 28 major cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan.
It is reported that they only got out of the plant when police came to their aid. This is not the first time that environmental protection inspections have met obstruction and resistance from the staff of polluting plants.
Last month, four inspectors were attacked while inspecting a plant with a poor discharge record in Dangshan county, East China's Anhui province. Earlier this month local inspectors in Xiangtan, Central China's Hunan province, were also assaulted.
The dilemma facing local inspection teams, to some extent, indicates that more belligerent polluters have begun to feel the pain in the face of tightened environmental protection supervision. It also proves that the new environmental protection law that came into effect in 2015 does have teeth.
What has emboldened some polluting companies to resort to violence and who are behind their wrongdoings are not yet known. But they will have to pay the price for interfering with those whose duty it is to enforce the law. It is foreseeable that some polluting enterprises may refuse to cooperate with the inspection teams given the tightened oversight, highlighting the need to enhance the efficiency and deterrent effect of enforcing the environmental regulations.