18,000 officials slated over pollution failures

China | 29 Dec 2017

More than 18,000 Chinese officials failed to take any action or performed badly in protecting the environment since 2016, according to a national crackdown that saw Beijing inspectors visit some of the world's most polluted cities.

In one case, sewage from 150,000 residents in Jingdezhen in southern Jiangxi province was directly discharged into rivers due to a lack of treatment facilities.

The vast majority of officials caught were local-ranking officials, said Liu Changgen, head of China's environmental inspection.

"In the next step, we will go through cases found during previous inspections and identify any higher-ranking officials for ill management," Liu, deputy director at the National Environmental Inspection Office, said yesterday.

Concerned about the level of local pollution following three decades of breakneck economic growth, Beijing dispatched four rounds of environment inspectors across the country from February 2016 to uncover violations of anti-pollution measures.

Local government officials who turn a blind eye to offences in the hope of meeting economic growth goals were also targeted in the anti-pollution campaign.

"The names of the officials, their jobs and their violations will be reported up the chain of command, who will decide how the officials will be punished," Liu said, adding the inspections would continue.

Reuters

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