China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) concluded their latest round of month-long, on-site environmental inspections across eight local provinces. The Chinese government launched its first series of investigations in 2016, imposing over 440 million Yuan (65.4 million USD) in fines and holding 6,500 people accountable.
In June 2017, inspectors uncovered severe issues in the provinces of Tianjin, Anhui, and Shanxi; some areas showing continued signs of degradation. Over 10,000 companies were ordered to suspend or shut down operations from heavy infractions. Of those, almost half were from Tianjin, one of the country’s largest cities and manufacturing/supply chain hubs. Authorities levied over 1.25 billion Yuan ($185 million USD) in environmental fines and detained 136 individuals responsible.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection blamed weak, local leadership that failed to implement pollution control policies. In some districts, air pollution increased, land had been damaged from untreated sewage, and construction waste ruined crucial water supplies. Illegal coal mines were even found to be operating in Jinzhong’s natural protection zone.
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