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Eco inspections bring more accountability

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-07-26 09:03
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Two centrally administered State-owned enterprises have expanded accountability in their environmental protection work as they strive to rectify violations exposed by the country's high-profile central environmental inspections, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Aluminum Corporation of China and China National Building Material Group Co, which were inspected in September 2020, have reported progress made on the breaches uncovered, according to the ministry on Monday.

Inspection teams are usually led by ministerial-level officials and report to a central group headed by Vice-Premier Han Zheng.

The inspections began including centrally administered State-owned enterprises in July 2019.

Environmental violations were found in many subsidiaries of Aluminum Corporation of China when inspectors visited in 2020. Despite complaints from the public, some violations lingered for an extended period of time.

Local residents, for example, had frequently complained about blatant environmental violations by Baotou Aluminum, which is located in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Aside from illegally disposing of waste, the subsidiary also failed to install facilities to collect exhaust gases as required. Since 2013, the company had been handed administrative penalties 126 times.

In its rectification report unveiled on Monday, the ministry said Aluminum Corporation of China rolled out two rounds of internal inspections in 2021 covering all of its subsidiaries that had violations. As of the end of last year, 79 percent of the total 204 violations inspectors found had been rectified.

To date, 76 officials have been held accountable from 14 of its subsidiaries, it added.

The company has decided to make environmental protection a more important factor in performance evaluation, raising the proportion of scores for environmental protection from the 2021 level, it said, without going into details.

When visiting China National Building Material Group Co in 2020, inspectors said it was easy to find environmental violations at the company's subsidiaries.

Since 2017, its subsidiaries had been given a total of 521 environmental penalties.

The company had rectified 34 of the 46 violations inspectors exposed as of the end of last year, the company said in its rectification report, adding that rectification for the other 12 is going ahead as scheduled.

"An accountability system for environmental protection work has been established and strengthened from the top to the grassroots levels in the company," it said, adding all of its subsidiaries with manufacturing and construction businesses have been covered.

The company has listed 180 tasks to rectify the 46 violations inspectors exposed, which include specific targets, measures, responsible departments and deadlines, it noted.

It said all of the tasks have been dispatched to the nine leading officials of the company. They not only have to oversee the rectification but also have to coordinate the work.

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