Saturday, March 1, 2014

Beijing steps up air pollution law enforcement

Xinhua: Beijing has launched a "zero-hour" campaign for enforcing the city's first air pollution prevention regulation, which came into effect on Saturday. Over 400 environmental monitoring staff began work at 12 a.m. Saturday to conduct a scrutiny on industrial emissions and dust.

Among the 617 plants and firms inspected, 25 received fines for discharging excessive emissions and 11 others for improper treatment of dust. When inspectors arrived at the Hongxiang Heat Co. Ltd. in Changping District, they found emission from roaring coal-fired heating boilers were discharging sulfur dioxide with a density of 350 milligrams per cubic meter, which is seven times more than the city's permitted level.

Zhong Chonglei, captain of the municipal environmental inspection team, said according to the regulation, the company should be given a fine of between 80,000 yuan (13,018 U.S. dollars) and 100,000 yuan. The fine will be doubled if the company fails a further check in a month.

Beijing's local law on air pollution prevention is widely regarded as a test of the government's resolve to solve air pollution problems. It legislates penalties from hefty fines to imprisonment for polluters, and, for the first time, sets a ceiling on total emissions of major pollutants. A previous guideline targeted only growth of emissions....

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