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Environment inspectors find fault in follow-ups
Last Updated: 2018-06-15 08:09 | China Daily
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Officials cited for dereliction after failing to fix problems found earlier

The country's top environmental watchdog has exposed a number of cases of dereliction of duty by local governments after dispatching inspection teams to check whether problems previously found had been rectified.

The central environmental inspection, launched in early 2016, covered all 31 provincial regions on the Chinese mainland as of the end of last year. Since the end of May, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has dispatched teams to revisit 10 of the regions, including Hebei, Henan, Jiangxi and Yunnan provinces, and will stay in those regions for a month.

Previously, inspection teams publicized problems after finishing their report. This time, violations were publicized soon after they were discovered.

The six teams exposed at least 15 cases in which local governments lied about the rectification of environmental problems or failed to rectify problems on time. All 10 revisited regions were found to have problems.

The last central inspection team sent to Hebei in 2016 reported that several feather processing factories in a village in Wuji county discharged waste water without treatment. When the team turned to the local government, however, they were told that these factories had been shut down in May 2013 and were not operating when inspectors visited the site in January 2016.

When inspectors returned to the province, however, they found a different story.

"Some enterprises stored their wastewater and then discharged it when it rained to avoid being discovered," a statement from the team said after a surprise visit was made to the village while it was raining.

More than 90 hectares of beach was found in a "messy and dreadful" state when the team visited a nickel factory in Beihai in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. After the previous inspection, it was reported that the company had piled 2 million metric tons of waste residue on the beach, according to the ministry.

"The problem, which was reported by the public, has not been rectified at all, and the situation has gone from bad to worse," the team said in a statement, adding that the area of beach affected by residue has expanded from about 27 hectares to 40 hectares.

Environmental authorities in Horinger county, in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, were found to have sealed off a polluting wood processing factory just ahead of the inspection team being dispatched to the region.

Inspectors managed to uncover the ruse by visiting the factory after nightfall. Though two workshops were sealed off, the door of another one was open, and there was half-processed wood in the workshop and a strong smell of paint.

Tong Yu, who oversees inspections in the Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui autonomous regions, said the revisit by the inspection teams will focus on local government dereliction in rectifying environmental violations.

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