1,613 people in Xinjiang accountable for environmental damage

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-03 20:13:23|Editor: Xiang Bo
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URUMQI, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- A total of 1,613 people in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been held accountable for environmental problems, after a national inspection.

Xinjiang was among eight provincial-level regions under a one-month review by the inspection teams dispatched by the central authorities from August to September.

The inspection team to Xinjiang said on Tuesday that as of Oct. 31, the region had resolved 2,905 cases highlighted by the team; a total of 2,182 companies were ordered to make improvements, and 548 companies were punished with total fines of 68.2 million yuan (10.5 million U.S. dollars).

The region has had 25 people detained for environmental problems and a total of 1,613 people were held accountable.

Xinjiang, heavily reliant on energy resources exploitation for economic growth, still faces some prominent environmental issues, such as inadequate attention to environment, insufficient cuts to outdated production capacity, and inadequate treatment of air and water pollution.

Some cities, including the regional capital Urumqi, have seen their air quality deteriorating over the past few years.

Small coal mines as well as sand and clay mines closed down in the region have left a total of 2,165 square km of land damaged and only 3.77 percent of it has been treated.

Some factories lack adequate environmental protection procedures or pollution control facilities.

Pollution and inadequate environmental controls have also been found in places under the jurisdiction of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), an economic and semi-military organization stationed in the region.

The inspection team asked the region and the XPCC to submit plans addressing the problems within 30 days.

The inspections from August to September left a total of 6,471 officials accountable for environmental damage, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection last month.

The inspections are part of China's campaign to fight pollution and environmental damage, as decades of growth have left the country with smog, polluted water and contaminated soil.