A blitz against polluting companies across the country began yesterday 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 jointly carried out such a program.
Targets of this year’s campaign, which will last through November, include companies responsible for contaminating rivers and drinking water sources, solid waste and sewage treatment plant problems, and environmental impact assessment laws.
Small enterprises that use outdated filtering or clean-up techniques or whose policies do not accord with environmental laws and regulations will be shut down.
During the national campaign, methods of making profits while protecting the environment will be promoted.
Despite efforts made in previous years, including closing down polluting plants, the situation in the country is still serious, said SEPA Vice Minister Wang Jirong.
In recent years, complaints by the general public about environmental problems have been increasing by 20 percent annually. The number of telephone complaints jumped by 330,000 last year.
In the June-September crackdowns on polluting enterprises last year, more than 7,300 enterprises across the country were shut down and more than 2,000 were ordered to suspend production while upgrading pollution control equipment.
More than 1,000 others were given deadlines to upgrade treatment of discharge waste in order to meet national standards.
Many local governments try to protect polluting enterprises to pump up development, and often do not punish such enterprises severely when they break the law.
“There is a saying among such enterprises: the cost of abiding by the law is higher than violating it,” said an official with the SEPA Environment Supervision Department.
(China Daily April 21, 2004)