Beijing imposes US$21.8m fines as air pollution curbs take effect

Beijing filed 13,127 environmental protection violation cases in 2016, with fines totaling 150 million yuan (US$21.8 million), local environmental authorities said yesterday.

A total of 10,184 cases, involving fines of 8.7 million yuan, were due to pollution from mobile emission sources. Of these, more than 10,000 vehicles were punished for excessive exhaust emissions.

Fines totaling 142 million yuan, involving 2,943 cases, were issued for fixed pollution emission sources. Nearly half of these violations were reported for air pollution.

Beijing authorities carried out a series of measures to tackle air pollution in 2016, such as cutting coal consumption, ordering construction sites to reduce dust, and removing high-polluting vehicles from roads.

In the capital, air pollution indicators have registered steady annual declines. In 2016 PM2.5 levels fell 9.9 percent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, more than 5,600 environmental protection violation cases were filed in two Chinese provinces last year.

Fines totaling 420 million yuan, involving 4,242 cases, were issued from January to November last year in the central province of Henan.

Punishments were meted out to 2,062 individuals and 2,505 companies for dereliction of duty, illegal discharge of pollutants and faking data.

In neighboring Hebei Province, 1,384 environmental cases were wrapped up last year, an increase of 64.96 percent compared to 2015. About 3,300 companies were investigated and 1,853 people detained, flagged for investigation or charged for misconduct linked with pollution.

Henan and Hebei, home to a large number of power plants, as well as coal and steel companies, are among the regions worst hit by smog in China.

To tackle air pollution, the two have vowed to cut capacity and eliminate outdated facilities.

In the first 11 months of 2016, Henan removed over 430,000 high-polluting vehicles from its roads and ordered 12,300 construction sites to reduce dust, a major source of smog.

In Hebei, steel capacity was reduced by 16.24 million tons and iron by 17.61 million tons.

The province has pledged to cut another 32 million tons of iron and steel capacity this year.

Average PM2.5 density dropped 9.1 percent in 2016 in Hebei and 10.7 percent in the first 11 months of 2016 in Henan

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