China / Hot Issues

Officials fault Hebei cities' response to bad air pollution

By Zhang Yu ( Updated: 2014-10-14 19:14

Six cities in Hebei province were blamed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Monday for failing to take adequate and effective measures to cope with the heavy air pollution that lasted from Oct 8 through Oct 12, Beijing News reported.

During that period, six officials were dispatched by the ministry to supervise the implementation of emergent measures in cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Langfang, Baoding, Xingtai, Hengshui and Handan. The last six, located in Hebei province, are always in the nation's top 10 polluted cities list.

The officials discovered that no more than 30 percent of high-emission vehicles and large vans were removed off the third ring road of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei, even though all of them should have been banned during the bad pollution days, in accordance with the city's emergent plan.

Hengshui authorities didn't send notice, as required, to restrict 80 percent of vehicles used by local government's officials.

In Langfang and Baoding, the vehicles that should have been off the road, according to their plate numbers, were on the road.

An official in Baoding said many car owners didn't get the restriction notice in time and that traffic officers have no right to punish owners of these vehicles.

Handan traffic officer Zhao Zheng, said, without forceful regulation, they could only try to dissuade vehicle owner, which largely turned out to be unsuccessful.

According to the supervising group of officials, Hebei province has no unified standard across the 11 cities it administrates to regulate the restriction on vehicles

Some industrial companies were also accused to have responded slowly.

But a thermal power plant in Shijiazhuang said it received the notice eight hours too late to reduce industrial pollution

"The plan requires us to cut 30 percent of our production, which needs 12 hours for a reschedule,"said a manager who works for an iron and steel company in Handan, adding that they are unprepared to reach this goal in a short time.

But Cui Zhihong, an official at the city's environmental protection department, was quoted as saying that this problem originates from the government's weak ability to send out early warnings about heavy pollution.

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