China says 55 firms severely exceeded pollution limits

Included on the list of firms published by the ministry was the Dalian subsidiary of the state oil giant, PetroChina, which was fined 8.5 million yuan ($1.27 million).

By: Reuters | Shanghai | Published:October 12, 2016 11:45 am
Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Hefei, Anhui province in this March 10, 2010 file photo. China aims to lay off 5-6 million workers from "zombie enterprises" over the next two to three years as part of efforts to curb industrial overcapacity and pollution, two sources with ties to the country's leadership said.  REUTERS/Stringer/Files Smoke billows from chimneys at a chemical factory in Hefei, Anhui province.  REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Dozens of major Chinese firms “severely exceeded” pollution limits in the second quarter of this year, the Environment Ministry said on Wednesday, as the country struggles to combat widespread air, soil and water contamination.

The ministry’s official publication, China Environmental News, said the regions with the most offenders were Inner Mongolia and Liaoning in the industrial northeast, and the country’s top steel producing province, Hebei, which surrounds the capital Beijing.

The ministry said 55 firms had been subject to punitive measures, including tougher supervision arrangements, fines and production restrictions.

Included on the list of firms published by the ministry was the Dalian subsidiary of the state oil giant, PetroChina, which was fined 8.5 million yuan ($1.27 million), as well as a mining firm owned by the Angang Group, a state-owned steelmaker, which was fined 150,000 yuan.

The firms would be compelled to “rectify” their illegal activities and disclose the details to the public. The ministry said 61 of the 95 corporate offenders in the first quarter of the year had already completed rectification efforts.

China has been stepping up efforts to enforce controls on pollution and its traditionally underpowered Environment Ministry has been granted new powers to force firms to toe the line. ($1 = 6.6685 Chinese yuan)

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