China Advocates Environmental Protection To 7 Regions

By klaireaustria

Nov 25, 2016 03:40 PM EST

China's central government has organized a second group of inspection teams who will review local-government environmental protection efforts, the latest move in fighting pollution and environmental degradation.

Seven inspection teams will be dispatched to seven provincial regions including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong starting Thursday, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Thursday.

The inspection will last about one month, said the ministry.

China had held more than 3,000 governmental officials accountable for lazy environmental protection efforts by the end of September, following the first round inspections.

Punishments include removal from official posts.

The officials were held accountable for activities including using land in natural reserves for city construction purposes, as well as worsening air and water quality

The teams will visit the capital, Beijing, the financial hub of Shanghai and the manufacturing center of Guangdong, the ministry said. The huge southwestern municipality of Chongqing and the provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu and Hubei are also on the list.

The investigation also accused companies of expanding steel capacity in violation of the country's strict overcapacity rules, and of encroaching upon nature reserves and other vulnerable ecological zones declared off-limits for development.

The new round of inspections is expected to be completed before the end of the year, the ministry said.

China's environment ministry was given authority earlier this year to investigate regions and enterprises without prior warning, and it was also empowered to summon any local government or company official to account for their actions.

A previous round of investigations into eight Chinese regions led to more than 3,000 officials being disciplined and 198 million yuan in fines being handed out for environmental violations.

The results of the investigations, published by the ministry last week, revealed that improvements had been made in the treatment of air pollution across the country, but water quality in some regions had become significantly worse.

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