China's top environmental watchdog will implement a three-year action plan from this year to clamp down on environmental offenses including fabrication and interference of monitoring data.
China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment will step up supervision and checks on the data gathered by monitoring agencies at provincial, municipal and county levels, an official with the ministry said Thursday.
Polluters in key regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area and Yangtze River Delta as well as sectors including papermaking will be scrutinized, according to the official.
Despite progress in China's ecological and environmental monitoring in recent years, salient and urgent problems still exist such as repeated falsification of data by polluters and recurrent interference from local authorities, the official noted.
Local officials found guilty of interfering with environmental monitoring will receive disciplinary punishment in accordance with relevant law and rules, and those confirmed of criminal offenses in tampering with or fabricating monitoring data will be prosecuted by judicial organs, the official added.
Earlier this month, the ministry held talks with leading government officials from the city of Linfen in coal-rich Shanxi Province regarding lax environmental protection measures and worsening air quality.
The ministry found the city had fabricated environmental monitoring data from April 2017 to March 2018 by interfering with its six monitoring stations nearly 100 times.
Sixteen people involved in fabricating data were convicted and sentenced to varying jail terms in May 2018.