With the arrival of the inspection group led by the central authorities in 6 provinces in early July 2019, the Chinese Ministry of Ecological Environment has confirmed the second round of environmental protection inspection in an official post. In the meanwhile, it is also emphasized that any fraudulent behaviour of chemical enterprises, such as emergency shutdown and indiscriminate accountability, will be strictly forbidden.
According to the announcement, 6 provinces including Shanghai, Fujian, Hainan, Chongqing, Gansu and Qinghai will be fully inspected by the ecological environment protection group, together with two national enterprises, which are China Minerals (China Minerals Corporation) and Chemchina (China National Chemical Corporation). On July 8, the Chinese Ministry of Ecological Environment informed the 6 provincial governments and the 2 national enterprises officially of the prohibition of any fraudulent behaviour. Besides, it also expressed that feasible work during the inspection is highly encouraged, but formalism and bureaucracy will be firmly suppressed.
Previously in 2016 and 2017, the first round of environmental protection inspection covered 31 provinces in China. During that time, a fine of more than RMB 1,400 million was issued and over 80 thousand environmental reports were solved. From the end of May to the beginning of June in 2018, 6 inspection groups took a look back on the progress after the first environmental protection inspection in 10 different provinces, including Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Henan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan and Ningxia. All of work has been done by the beginning of July.
Dating back to the first environmental protection inspection, a phenomenon of formalism was greatly demonstrated in a lot of chemical enterprises. A “trick” of emergency shutdown and fake rectification was played very frequently among those enterprises. As official data shows, more than 200 thousand chemical enterprises were asked to shut down and 1 million were asked for a rectification. In the end, not only did the shutdown exert a bad impact on normal operation of farmers, but it also led to tight supply of raw materials and an increasing price of pesticides.
According to Zhai Qing, the vice minister of the Chinese Ministry of Ecological Environment, the main focus of the second environmental protection inspection is the subject responsibility for the prevention of pollution among chemical enterprises.
an inspection group consisting of 8 different departments from the central
authorities has been formed. The departments respectively come from the General
Office of the Central Committee, the Central Organization Department, the
Central Publicity Department, the General Office of the State Council, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Ecological Environment, the Audit
Commission, and the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
Mr. Zhai also expressed that a difference would be shown in the standards of inspection in terms of the chemical enterprises and the governmental departments. As for the chemical enterprises, more attention will be paid to the responsibility that the enterprises should take if they fail to prevent pollution. As for the governmental departments, the inspection will incline to the enactment of relevant regulations, in order to see whether the overall planning for economic development and environmental protection has been reached.
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