The State Environmental Protection Administration, or SEPA, plans to ban enterprises and projects that harm the environment on a more regular basis, the China News Service quotes Deputy Director Pan Yue as saying.
SEPA currently uses bans as a one-off punishment to force enterprises that violate the environmental law to close or stop production. But Pan Yue says the environment watchdog plans to use bans as an effective measure to encourage enterprises to upgrade their equipment and introduce environmentally-friendly practices.
Pan commented on the use of bans at a press conference on Monday. He also announced the bans SEPA imposed on four cities and four power companies for their appalling environmental tracks records have been completely lifted.
The four cities are Tangshan in Hebei Province, Lvliang in Shanxi, Liupanshui in Guizhou and Laiwu in Shandong. The power companies are Datang, Huadian Power, Huaneng Power and State Power.
Pan announced the bans have been lifted because all the companies and cities now comply with national standards, thanks to local government's support on environmental protection.
He said SEPA initiated the ban to curb severe regional pollution. Bans can be used effectively to change industrial practices across entire regions and encourage economic development to proceed in line with environmental protection.
Staff from environmental departments at all levels have inspected 82 highly-polluting enterprises and projects in more than 20 provinces since January 10, when SEPA imposed the ban on highly-polluting companies and cities for the first time.
Pan said the series of bans have helped to change the mindset of local government administrations that stress development at all costs and ignore the environment. He said these governments must stop depending on highly-polluting industries to generate the bulk of their revenue. They should now focus on developing clean, modern industries.
Pan said production has been stopped at a number of highly-polluting companies and projects as part of a move to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 190,000 tons a year.
(Xinhua News Agency April 10, 2007)