China shuts down 3,000 polluters

Chinese authorities have closed down over 3,000 companies for violations of laws designed to limit industrial pollution.

According to state-owned media 3,176 businesses have been forced to close following a massive campaign last year when regulators visited 720,000 different companies.

China is engaged in a difficult balancing act as it seeks to develop its economy at break-neck speed without sacrificing the natural environment.

While its economic success in recent years had been undeniable, the jury is still out on how successful the country has been at the latter.

Despite positive rhetoric from regulators, attempts to curb the environmental damage being done by industry have been slowed by a culture of business first, environment second and protectionism at a local level where officials have historically turned a blind eye to pollution incidents so long as the perpetrators remain economically porducitve.

The latest figures published by China Daily will demonstrate that some headway is being made by the national regulator, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

SEPA and related departments shut down a total of 3,176 enterprises for pollution offenses last year and investigated 28,000 cases of which 13,000 were settled.

The sources of potable water, industrial parks and construction sites were the main targets, according to SEPA.

“Pollution by industrial parks has been curbed effectively,” a SEPA official was reported as saying by China Daily.

A total of 1,981 industrial parks across the country, involving 29,890 enterprises, were investigated, and 4,162 were severely punished.

China failed to meet its energy conservation and pollution control targets last year, and environmental degradation remains a problem stifling China’s economic and social development.

China reported 161 serious pollution accidents last year.

In March, in an effort to name and shame the worst offenders, SEPA published a list of more than 6,000 industrial polluters, including well-known companies and factories.

Sam Bond

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