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The second Central Inspection Team sends feedback to Shanghai

The second inspection team of the Central Government launched environmental inspection on Shanghai Municipality from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28, in an effort to implement the major decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. The team gave feedback to the municipal government at a meeting that was chaired by the Mayor Ying Yong on Apr. 12. The Leader of the inspection team Zhu Zhixin delivered the inspection results, and Secretary of the municipal Party committee Han Zheng made remarks in response. Deputy Leader Huang Runqiu, other inspectors concerned, the leadership of the municipal Party committee and municipal government, as well as heads of relevant departments attended the meeting.

The inspection team held that since the year 2013, the Shanghai municipal Party committee and municipal government have thoroughly learnt and implemented the guidelines of the important statements of General Secretary Xi Jinping, worked energetically to integrate the environmental protection with the economic growth and urban development, and ranked in the top list among the local areas regarding environmental protection.

For many years, the city has spent around 3 percent of its annual local GDP in protecting the environment, addressed prominent environmental problems step by step, improved the environmental infrastructure in urban areas, and carried out integrated river management projects on 500 km long watercourses with notable progress achieved.

The city has continued to promote industrial restructuring and transformation and cut down pollution at the source. A total of 2,540 energy-intensive and highly polluting projects with inefficient production capacity have been phased out in three years, and 20 km2 of construction lands have been saved and diverted to ecological purposes.

Furthermore, the city has highlighted delicacy urban management. It has treated 2,059 pollution sources and shut down 6,033 enterprises since 2015. The scattered coal burning has been wiped out in the built areas through upgrading coal-fired power generating units and replacing boilers with clean energy sources. Also, Shanghai has taken the lead in the country to introduce third parties to treat environmental pollution, a move proved effective.

As a result, the concentrations of the city’s air pollutants had dropped significantly in 2016 from the 2013 levels, and the surface water quality had been steadily improved.

The city cooperated closely with the central inspection team. By the end of February, all of the 1,893 environmental problems assigned by the team had been handled, having 895 enterprises make rectifications, imposing fines on 926 enterprises with total penalty reaching 6.211 mil. yuan, holding 17 persons in custody, having 545 persons summoned for talks, and holding 56 persons accountable.

The inspectors concluded that in spite of the notable progress in protecting the environment, the eco-environmental quality still stands as a weak point in local development and there’s still a big gap from meeting the growing environmental demand of the people and the objective of building Shanghai into a livable city.

The local government has showed leniency in environmental management. A local implementation plan for water pollution control introduced in December 2015 postponed a deadline set by national plan for municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Yangtze River delta to attain A-level emission standards from the end of 2016 to the year 2020.

Shanghai was required to be able to treat all municipal solid wastes in environmentally sound way by the year 2015, with a treatment capacity up to 33,400 t/d. However, the actual capacity stood at 24,000 t/d, which led to repeated illegal garbage dumping.

A circular issued by the State Council in November 2014 required tightening environmental inspection and having all illegal and irregular construction projects rectified by the end of 2016. However, a considerable amount of such projects were missed out by the local inspectors.

The city was found inadequate in water environment management as well. Eighty-eight out of the 259 surface water sections under municipal monitoring program failed the Grade national standard. The local municipal wastewater treatment plants did not attain a higher discharge standard as required. It also did not give adequate protection of drinking water sources and was behind schedule in increasing the local sludge treatment capacity.

Shanghai water authority showed leniency to industrial polluters and undercharged them penalties for environmental violations. The local environmental protection departments were also found with inefficiency. Since 2013, around 800 local firms required to halt operations had still been in normal operation before finishing their rectifications, due to weak execution of the punishment decisions. Moreover, 32 out of 73 hazardous chemical storage firms operated without getting their environmental impact assessment reviewed.  

The inspection teams demanded that Shanghai implement the requirements of the central authorities, develop new development concepts, overcome difficulties, promote the green transformation of the development patterns, and build into a more livable eco-city. Also, it should upgrade local municipal wastewater treatment plants, and improve the collection, treatment, and regulatory framework of the construction wastes, municipal wastes, and sludge from wastewater treatment plants. It should work harder to straighten out illegal and irregular construction projects and tighten environmental compliance inspection. The local departments concerned should probe the above said problems and make responsible persons to account.

The inspection team emphasized that the municipal Party committee and government should work out a rectification plan soon based on the Environmental Protection Inspection Program (on trial) and the above feedback, and submit the plan to the State Council within 30 working days. The rectification plan and the results will be made public.

The team also straightened out the cases on the accountability for local ecological damages, and handed them over to the municipal Party committee and government for further processing.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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