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China Announces Year-Long Inspection of Air Quality in Northern Cities

In the largest national-level inspection on record, more than two dozen cities in north China will face a strict one-year inspection over air pollution prevention, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) announced on April 5.

Some 5,600 environmental inspectors will be sent to Beijing, Tianjin, and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas to check on implementation of pollution control targets and emission standards, said the ministry.

They will also inspect the investigation and closure of polluting businesses, the seasonal reduction or halting of production in certain industries, and the installation and operation of pollution monitoring and control devices.

The MEP vowed "systematic" inspections with high pressure on local authorities and promised zero tolerance for those who violate environmental laws and regulations.

In a separate statement, the ministry named and shamed a number of local governments and enterprises following its latest investigation of 7 inspection teams to cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang.

Several enterprises, including a rubber plant under Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Company, were criticized for "inadequate pollution control efforts," while some governments, including those of Tangshan City and Yutian County, were slammed for inaction and neglect.

The MEP also exposed enterprises with false information and governments with inadequate pollution response plans.

China has started to intensify the fight against air pollution as cities suffered from more smoggy days in January, with northern areas the worst affected.

The worsening trend in air quality has been checked since the MEP ordered a special air quality inspection in the first quarter of this year, according to the ministry.

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2017)

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