Posts tagged ‘environmental protection bureau’


A Silver Lining in Beijing Smog: Soaring Pollution Penalty Revenues – Businessweek

Looking for a silver lining in Beijing’s gray smog? The city’s environmental protection bureau says fees collected from polluters are soaring, already totaling 88 million yuan ($14 million) this year. That’s way up from 8.34 million yuan in penalties levied over the same period last year, according to the China Daily.

Tiananmen Square during severe pollution on Feb. 25 in Beijing

The surge in penalties isn’t because the smog’s been worse. In January, the fines went up more than 10-fold for major pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ammonia nitrogen.

The higher fees are already helping encourage companies to retire some of their worst habits. “Many companies used to ignore the old discharge fee because it was simply too insignificant,” said Zhong Chonglei, head of the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Team, at a press conference on May 6. “The increased fee has made many companies realize the importance of emission reduction.”

via A Silver Lining in Beijing Smog: Soaring Pollution Penalty Revenues – Businessweek.

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* Beijing to shut coal-fired boilers to clean up air

China Daily Mail: “Beijing has vowed to eliminate most coal-fired boilers in the city center by the end of 2015 to reduce pollution from fine particulate matter, especially during the heating season.

Beijing to shut coal-fired boilers to clean up air

After reducing coal use by 700,000 metric tons last year, the capital plans to cut another 1.4 million tons this year and use no more than 21.5 million tons, according to the 2013 coal consumption reduction plan released by the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau and Commission of Development and Reform.

Workers with the Beijing District Heating Group destroy two coal delivery channels with cranes on April 25, marking the beginning of the transformation of energy from coal to gas in the last coal-burning power plant in Beijing. CHENG NING / FOR CHINA DAILY

The capital used 26.35 million tons of coal in 2010, the environmental bureau said.

Beijing still has a large number of coal-fired central heating boilers that give off large amounts of coal dust, and noise during the heating season.

Richard Saint Cyr, a family medicine doctor at United Family Health in Beijing, said he has noticed an uptick in discussions about the worsening air quality with many patients since winter.

He said that air pollution in the past winter was unusually serious and he had never witnessed such collective anxiety in Beijing.

Fine particulate matter poses a serious threat to people’s hearts and lungs, he said.”

via Beijing to shut coal-fired boilers to clean up air |Society |

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* China’s Environmental Protection Racket

WSJ: “Beijing’s choke-inducing air – which blanketed the city for nearly a week before being cleared away by a bout of sorely-needed wind on Friday — prompted Premier Wen Jiabao to call for action to protect the environment and public health.

If the premier and his colleagues can see through the smog on the policy front, they might consider something that has been all but overshadowed by the capital’s plight: the sorry track record of the environmental watchdog in little Nantong in east China’s Jiangsu province.

The problems in Nantong are a tale of environmental protection gone seriously wrong in a country where money clearly talks. They may also be small but critical components of an increasingly toxic environment.

According to a series of newspaper reports, online versions of which appear to have vanished into the country’s not-so-thin air, more than 30 environmental and other officials from the Nantong area were implicated in a scandal that involves bribery and turning a blind eye to pollution problems. Thanks to the reporting of the Shanghai-based China Business News (in Chinese here and here), it’s now fairly clear that Nantong environmental officials were running something closer to an environmental protection racket.

The newspaper, which had been following the story since the summer of last year, reported earlier this month that the scandal had reached the highest level of the local environmental protection bureau. Contacted by the Wall Street Journal, an official with the Nantong Environmental Protection Bureau was unable to elaborate beyond the official posting on the Nantong discipline inspection committee’s website, which stated that former bureau director Lu Boxin was found guilty of accepting bribes and sentenced to 12 years in prison (in Chinese).

This brief report, posted under the banner headline of “Study the Spirit of the 18th Communist Party Congress, Promote and Deepen the Anti-corruption Campaign and the Building of Clean Government,” said that the bribes were taken on more than one occasion.”

via China’s Environmental Protection Racket – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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* China’s ‘most polluted city’ breathes cleaner air

As Western organisations know, “what you don’t measure you cannot manage” and “incentives matter”. So China’s local authorities are beginning to realise, as evidenced at Linfen. Assuming this notion is being espoused across China, then it is very good news indeed for the environment.

China Daily: “Fan Lifen clearly recalls the days when her hometown was shrouded in darkness, with the sun barely visible through a thick curtain of smog.

“The situation would worsen in the winter, when households would burn coal for heating,” recalls Fan, a native of the city of Linfen in North China’s Shanxi province.

Rapid industrialization and urbanization in the past two decades have saddled cities like Linfen with heavy environmental burdens, damaging the health of local residents and fueling complaints.

However, Linfen is making efforts to turn its situation around.

“The air in Linfen has improved tremendously,” said Liu Dashan, spokesman for the Shanxi Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau.

The dramatic turnaround started when Linfen was listed as the “most polluted” among 113 major Chinese cities for three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005.

The local government has since launched a cleanup campaign, closing 1,056 factories and imposing stricter environmental standards on those that are still operating, according to Mayor Yue Puyu.

Substandard mines have been shut down and smaller ones have been merged into competitive mining conglomerates, Yue said.

Residents have been weaned off of coal burning, with natural gas heating introduced to more than 85 percent of the city’s households, said Yang Zhaofen, director of the city’s environmental protection bureau.

The changes were made possible by changing the way the performance of local officials is evaluated, with promotions and other rewards linked to their efforts to improve the city’s environment.

Officials have not only closed down heavily polluting factories, but also taken action to add “green” features to the city. A large park was opened on the banks of the Fenhe River last year, helping to absorb pollutants and purify the air.

Over the years, China’s economic growth has been fueled by over exploitation of natural resources, resulting in environment degradation. A worsening environment has prompted the government to exert greater efforts on environmental protection, replacing the practice of achieving growth at all costs.

President Hu Jintao said in a speech delivered to the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress on Thursday that China should “give high priority to making ecological progress” and “work hard to build a beautiful country and achieve lasting and sustainable development.”

Linfen is a part of Shanxi’s efforts to repair its environment. The province, which provides over 70 percent of China’s coal, is slowly turning toward sustainable development.

More than 3,000 mines have been shut down since reforms were initiated in 2008, according to Wang Hongying, chief of the institute of macroeconomics under the provincial development and reform commission.

In addition to consolidating coal mines, the province has also made changes to the coal tax and fostered substitute industries, Wang said.

“We have set an example for other provinces. Although difficulties may emerge in the future, reforms will continue and we have high hopes for them,” Wang said.”

via China’s ‘most polluted city’ breathes cleaner air |Society |

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