Polluters implicated in 145 cases were fined about 115.97 million yuan (17.9 million U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of the year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Thursday.
In 301 cases, the polluters were ordered to reduce or suspend production. Environmental agencies nationwide also transferred 265 cases to judicial authorities for investigation of suspected criminal offenses in the first three months.
The amount of fines imposed on polluters in the first quarter increased by 153 percent year on year while the number of violators that were asked to reduce or suspend production decreased by 28 percent from the same period of 2015, the ministry said.
In March, environmental authorities issued punishments in 60 cases, collecting nearly 57.2 million yuan in fines. Polluters involved in 172 cases were required to reduce or suspend production and 117 cases were transferred to judicial organs for suspected criminal offenses.
The provinces subject to most environmental violations in the first quarter were Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian, according to the ministry.