December 28, 2018 / 6:51 AM / 5 months ago

China to expand environmental inspections of state-owned companies

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will expand environmental inspections to more central government-owned enterprises next year, widening its five-year anti-pollution campaign, a senior environment ministry official said on Friday.

Checks will cover a broad range of industries with high levels of energy intensity and emissions, including oil refining, coking plants and chemical producers, said Liu Changgen, who heads the Ministry of Ecology and Environment’s central inspection team.

Inspectors would also ensure government departments were fully implementing anti-pollution measures.

“We will have thorough inspections and extend the checks to cabinet departments and state-owned companies,” Liu told a media briefing, adding that the ministry is employing satellite images and big data analysis to detect pollution.

The ministry on Monday said it would adopt more efficient and targeted anti-pollution measures, following a meeting of top leaders that noted downward pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.

Beijing has ditched blanket production cuts on heavy industry and allowed local authorities to adopt measures based on regional emission levels. However, declining air quality in the past two months in northern China has stirred concerns that the government is easing up on violations

The ministry repeated that it has not relaxed a crackdown on pollution, pointing to higher emissions from households as the winter heating season started, unfavorable weather conditions and a sandstorm for the drop in air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Reporting by Meng Meng and Aizhu Chen; editing by Richard Pullin

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