Hope for the environment

Some days ago, a company which supplies potatoes to Macdonald’s was fined 3.9 million yuan ( around $600,000) for polluting local water supplies. Some of the polluted water had reached the city’s water supply pipes.

Following the introduction of new anti-pollution laws, there have been a number of cases showing China is serious about stemming the industrial-level haze that shrouds the country during the winter months.

Recently a cement factory in Hebei was closed due to heavy pollution. The factory’s owner used compensation monies to open a new factory which processes walnuts, a common crop in the area. The walnut factory will employ laid down workers from the cement factory. Last year, 35 cement factories were closed in Hebei province.

6 companies in Taizhou, Jiangsu, were recently fined a record 160 CNY for dumping chemicals into rivers.

Last month, China Petroleum was fined 100 million CNY ( around $16 million) for polluting a river in Lanzhou, a city in western China.

After the recent National People’s Congress, laws were enacted to close down four of Beijing’s coal burning power plants next year, replacing them with gas-fired electricity plants.

The Ministry for environmental protection will also inspect air quality monitoring stations, with heavy fines for those producing fake data. Fuel standards are also being reinforced to curb vehicle emissions.

Bans on coal emissions and the use of lower quality coal – which contributes substantially to pollution levels – has been extended to the suburbs outside Beijing.

Reuters has announced

Detailing its clean coal action plan 2015-2020, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said it would promote centralized heating and power supply by natural gas and renewables, replacing scattered heat and power engines fueled by low quality coal. 

The world’s biggest coal consumer will ban sale and burning of high-ash and high-sulphur coal in the worst affected regions including city clusters surrounding Beijing.

There’s a long way to go, but China is showing increased committment to cleaning up the air, waters, and soil.