On the afternoon of Mar. 8, Minister Chen Jining received an interview in the minister’s passage about the ongoing thematic inspection on the air quality in the first quarter.
Chen said that there has been frequent heavy air pollution since the start of the winter, and we have been facing a daunting situation for air pollution control. In response, MEP worked with local environmental protection departments and launched the thematic inspection on air quality in the first quarter of the year. The inspection will last for one month. It is conducted by more than 260 inspectors who fall into 18 inspection teams which are further divided into 54 groups. It carries out two tasks, a. to transmit the pressure down the chain of command and focus on how the districts and counties have carried out their environmental protection tasks. This is a difficult problem and a weak link in environmental protection front. b. to have the local governments to perform their environmental protection responsibilities. The Ministry divides the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and surrounding area into about 37,000 “3km*3km” grids, which will be ranked in the descending order of the PM2.5 emission. The top 400 plus grids in the list contribute around 40 percent of the area-wide pollution, while the top 3,000 ones contribute around 80 percent. They are the primary targets of this inspection.
Chen said that the inspection highlights seven matters as below: a. the local performances in the implementation of the contingency plans against heavy air pollution, for example, are there any “ghost” enterprises in the contingency plans? Does the industry know how to react once the contingency plan is activated? b. the basic information on the “small, scattered, disorderly and polluting” enterprises in each of the grids. There are a great amount of such enterprises in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area especially in the districts and counties, and across their boundaries. The inspection will figure out the basic information on such enterprises and lay groundwork for the environmental management in the next step. c. the progresses in the elimination and upgrading of small boilers in the grids. d. the attainment of emission standards by the industry. e. any fraud with the online monitoring devices through on-the-spot check. f. whether the industry has halted operations in the heat supply season; g. flying dust in the area. The flying dust is a very pressing problem in the northern part of China especially in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and surrounding area, which contributes PM2.5 pollution in a fairly big way. So, it is imperative to urge local areas to take measures to address the flying dust problem.
Chen said that so far the inspection has covered almost 6,000 departments, organizations and enterprises, and more than 2,000 problems have been revealed, which helps address certain pressing environmental problems. The listed problems have been transferred to the local governments for making rectifications, and the rectification results will be made public. The Ministry will monitor closely on this. In addition, the local governments will be held accountable for the problems that have been straightened out, and an interview meeting will be arranged as appropriate once a local government is found to be liable for too many problems.
Finally, Chen said that the Ministry is planning to launch another one or two area-wide thematic inspection actions, continue to maintain a high stance and make earnest efforts to improve the environmental quality. He also hoped all walks of life continue to care and support the environmental protection work.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)