Chinese government investigation uncovers high polluting factories

World Today

Officials from China’s environment protection agency said they’ve carried out a series of undercover investigations. They sought-out high levels of pollution discharged by factories across the country. CCTV’s Jie Bai reported on the startling results they uncovered.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently launched undercover investigations into fifteen factories in Linyi, Shandong province, and the results were shocking. Thirteen were found to be breaking anti-pollution rules, discharging illegal levels of toxic substances.

Local officials estimated that around 5,500 factories in Linyi were escaping any form of supervision.

“Whether it’s black smoke or yellow smoke, it’s all real pollution. We have not been keeping a proper eye on all factories. We need to re-evaluate our processes and improve. In the past some factories refused to be inspected. They said they were in periods of pilot production. Things like this won’t happen in future,” Xie Feng, deputy director general of Shandong Environmental Protection Bureau, said.

The mayor of Linyi, Zhang Shuping, is under pressure, but he said he’s determined to improve the situation.

It’s a similar story in Chengde city, in Hebei province, northern China.

“Average levels of PM10, PM2.5, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide increased last year in the city, compared to 2013,” Liu Changgen, supervisor of Ministry of Environmental Protection, said. That means Chengde has the unhappy distinction of being the only city in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region that saw air pollution rise in 2014.

Local officials said they were surprised. “We have a misunderstanding. We always thought Chengde’s air quality wasn’t bad, especially compared to other areas in North China. It’s good, but it can be better. We can’t regress. It’s a warning,” Mayor of Chengde Zhao Fenglou said.

In the wake of the findings, Linyi and Chengde are now drawing up new plans to curb illegal emissions. How effective they prove to be remains to be seen.