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POSITION:首页>>News>>Press
Officials punished over 'irregularities' at nature reserves
Time:2018.02.26 09:47:00

More than 1,100 officials have been held accountable for environmental irregularities in China's nature reserves after a six-month environmental protection inspection that lasted until the end of last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement on Saturday.

Those punished include 60 officials at the prefectural or equivalent level and 240 at the county or equivalent level, but the ministry didn't disclose what punishments were handed out.

With 20,800 tips related to environmental damage in nature reserves, authorities suspended or closed 2,460 companies and demolished buildings with a total floor area of 5.9 million square meters during the inspections. The inspection was focused on mining, quarrying, tourism and hydropower development in nature reserves, the ministry said.

The inspections - which involved seven central government departments, including water resources, land and agriculture - covered all 446 national nature reserves, and were the largest inspections to date targeting nature reserves.

The 10 inspection teams, with personnel from the seven departments, used remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles to complete their work, the ministry said.

"Some local governments still fail to attach enough importance to the protection of nature reserves and make excuses for environmental damage," the statement said.

It also said some local governments lacked powerful enough supervision over irregularities in the nature reserves and failed to rectify existing environmental issues.

Some local governments organized their own inspections of areas under their jurisdiction and found more than 5,000 irregularities. A total of 12 local laws that relate to nature reserves but conflict with national laws were abolished, and another 51 were revised. Local governments also drafted more than 20 new laws to help with the protection of nature reserves, the statement said.

The ministry said it is cooperating with various departments to draft a plan for a similar inspection in 2018 and will maintain its tough stance over irregularities.

The inspections were launched after the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China's cabinet, jointly released a circular in July about irregularities in the Qilian Mountains National Natural Reserve in Gansu province.

An inspection team from the central government found various irregularities, including over-exploitation of mineral resources, illegal construction and the operation of hydropower facilities, as well as excessive pollutant emissions.

More than 150 hydropower stations were found in the Qilian Mountains basin, 42 of which are located within the reserve, resulting in severe disruption to the local ecosystem. Many of the projects have violated regulations both in the process of gaining approval and in construction.

In the document, the central government said that officials, including Yang Zixing, vice-governor of Gansu province, will be held accountable for failing to look into and prevent the environmental problems.

 

Source: Hou Liqiang | China Daily

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