|Benjie Batanes |||Aug 10, 2015 10:01 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images/John Moore) Thousands of companies have been fined since China's enacted a new environmental law earlier in the year.
Chinese environmental regulators have announced that more than 25,000 citations have been issued against polluting companies in the first six months of the year. A newly enacted environment law has given authorities greater mandate to go after companies and individuals responsible for pollution.
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Xinhua Finance reported that the Ministry of Environmental Protections ordered almost 10,000 companies to stop their operations.
The aggregated fines from the environmental citations reached more than 200 million yuan (roughly $37 million). The Ministry also announced that more than 700 cases have been turned over to local police departments since the violators were also criminally liable.
China's Environmental Protection Law (EPL) was imposed only this year and many companies and individuals have already been prosecuted for violations.
Around ten Chinese cities have been given administrative sanction by the ministry for failure to stop companies from polluting the environment. Officials from at least four of the mentioned cities were either admonished or fired from their position.
Meanwhile, a number of steel manufacturers in the industrial city of Linyi have complained about the economic burden of closing down their factories because of environmental violations. Company representatives said the shutdown will lead to unemployment for thousands of workers as well as the loss of substantial tax revenue for the local government.
However, the Environmental ministry has dismissed the complaint saying that factories are shut down when they blatantly ignore warnings regarding waste disposal.
So far, local officials have ordered more than 400 manufacturers to clean up their operations. Around 30 of those companies will have to be moved elsewhere.
Environment Minister Chen Jining announced on Tuesday Aug. 4 that his agency will a take a more aggressive stance against polluters.
Chen noted that the environment has paid a very high price in the country's race to economic development during a government meeting to formulate the next five-year plan for China.
He said that the air quality in many parts of China contains various toxic chemicals and that the country's ecology has deteriorated greatly.
Fortunately, the next five-year plan, which will come into effect in 2016, will include plans to safeguard the environment of China.
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