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July 1, 2014

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Home » Metro » Environment

Fresh vow to get tough on polluters

LOCAL companies that generate air pollution could soon face harsher penalties if the city’s environment agency gets its way.

In the worst cases, firms will have all of their profits confiscated, said Yu Feilin, director of the law department at the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

A request has been sent to the government asking for the appropriate changes to be made to the environmental protection law, according to Yu.

Other penalties would include fines, production suspensions and the confiscation of the offenders’ products, Yu said during an inspection visit to a local factory.

“With old plants that are unable to meet the air quality standard they will be required to completely restructure their operations,” he said.

During recent tours of about 500 local companies, 45 failed to meet the air quality standard, Yu said.

In one instance, a brick factory in Fengxian District was found to be discharging black smoke directly into the air. Its owner claimed the ventilation system was faulty, he said.

Similarly, at a wood processing plant in Fengxian, paint fumes and dust particles were being blowing straight into the air through the open windows of a workshop, Yu said.

In both cases, the owners of the companies were ordered to halt production and could face further punishments pending investigations, said Zhou Hu, deputy director of the bureau’s law enforcement team.

Yesterday’s calls for stiffer penalties for environmental abuses came just months after the bureau’s top official vowed to get tough on polluters.

In March, Zhang Quan, director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau and a national legislator, told Shanghai Daily that any company or individual found guilty of polluting the city’s air would face stiff penalties under revised legislation set to come into force this year.

The local law will be tougher on violators than state law, and there will be no upper limits on penalties, which could include criminal charges, he pledged.


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