BEIJING: Over 3,000 industrial units in China have faked emission data, the government said today as it stepped its efforts to control recurring air pollution in major cities, including Beijing. In all 3,119 polluters have faked emissions, Ministry of Environment said, summarising its latest efforts to tackle the smog that often shrouds the north of the country.
Many local governments still "don't act, or act blindly" to clean up air pollution, it said in a statement. The ministry dispatched 260 inspectors in 18 teams to visit 8,500 polluters in the north of the country, most of them factories, mines and heating energy providers. The inspections were done in 18 of the most polluted cities in China, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang from February 15 to March 18, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning reported.
The problems exposed by the ministry show the challenges ahead for Beijing to clean up the nation's toxic air, such as cadres who target economic development over clear skies, state-owned enterprises disrespecting local environmental checks and the lack of a systematic legal or administrative approach to curb air pollution, it said.
In his annual press conference on March 15, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said some of the causes for recurring smog remained unknown and announced a special fund to pool together finest scientists to find the "unique" factors. "We will take firm steps to address coal burning, exhaust of vehicles and dust in tackling smog. We have not yet fully understood the causes of the smog. Some factors remained unknown, in particular about the smog weather in winter in northern China are quite unique, internationally speaking," he said.
"So further research needs to be done. China will set up special fund to pool together finest scientists to dig into this matter so that our responses to this problem can be made effective," he said adding that pollution control is a process. Beijing and other cities in China spend many winter days under a thick, gray haze, with air pollution levels that exceed World Health Organisation guideline.
The capital city has made efforts to retire aged vehicles and move heavily polluting industries to distant provinces. But the problem still continue.
A study by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention published earlier this month suggested about three million premature deaths could be prevented each year if stricter air quality standards were adopted and enforced.