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MEP issues early warnings on heavy air pollution

China National Environmental Monitoring Center consulted with National Meteorological Center and the provincial environmental monitoring centers seated in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and surrounding area and forecasted that between Apr. 3 and Apr. 7, Beijing, Tianjin, some cities in Shanxi, the part of Hebei to the north of the Yellow River, and the cities distributed along the ranges of T'ai-hang Mountains may record heavy air pollution one after another, MEP told the news press today. This heavy air pollution spell will last for a longer period and affect a larger area.

In response, MEP activated the emergency response mechanism to combat heavy air pollution, and Minister Chen Jining chaired a two-day decision-making and consultation meeting to make plans for and estimate the latest developments of the air quality, and coordinate relevant local governments to strengthen the cooperative control efforts. The Ministry corresponded with the provincial (municipal) people’s governments of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, and Henan on Mar. 31 and Apr. 1 respectively, to notify them of the estimated and forecasted air quality of cities possibly with heavy air pollution, and require local areas to, based on actual circumstances, activate early warnings at appropriate levels and take emergency response measures without hesitation. The early warnings should be upgraded accordingly in case the air quality turns out to be worse than forecast or lasts a longer period of time than estimated.

Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin headed an inspection team composed of the leading officials with the Ministry’s Department of Air Environment Management, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning and arrived in Anyang Municipality today, kicking off the tour inspection on major cities in the part of Hebei to the north of Yellow River, and the central and southern parts of Hebei, in order to urge relevant local governments to assume air pollution control responsibilities of their respective jurisdictions and take effective measures to mitigate the impact of heavy air pollution. In the meantime, seven mobile inspection teams arrived in Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Baoding, Xingtai, and Anyang separately on Apr. 1, and launched thematic inspections as soon as possible to check local performances in implementing the contingency plans against heavy air pollution, rectifying the problems revealed by the inspection on the air quality in the first quarter of the year, treating the “scattered, disorderly, and polluting” enterprises, and straightening out and eliminating the coal-fired boilers. The inspection teams also tightened the inspection over local vehicle emissions and flying dust problems.

Local areas took active measures to respond to the heavy air pollution, activated the emergency response plans in a timely fashion, and assembled local inspection teams to conduct voluntary inspections. So far, Tianjin, Tangshan, Langfang, Puyang, and Anyang have already issued orange early warnings of heavy air pollution, and Xingtai activated the yellow early warnings.

The mobile inspection teams found certain problems in the inspection, for example, the community-level government departments of some cities neglected their duties; the heavy-duty, diesel-fueled vehicles and fuel products failed the emission standards considerably; local industries faced the common problem with incomplete pollution treatment facilities; the pollution by scattered, disorderly and polluting enterprises and the flying dust problems were ubiquitous; and some elevated pollution sources still did not attain the emission standards.

The Ministry has informed the local governments of the revealed problems and ordered them to seriously punish the nonattainment enterprises, halt the operations of “scattered, disorderly, and polluting” enterprises that failed to attain the emission standards, and report back the punitive and rectification results before a certain deadline.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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