SEPA removes five more areas from blacklist

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China’s environmental watchdog removed three cities and two industrial zones from its blacklist only a week after taking out five other areas.

The removal of the additional cities and industrial zones leaves only one county and two industrial zones on the list: Hejin county in north China’s coal base of Shanxi province, Lanzhou High-Tech Industrial Development Zone in Gansu province and Puyuan Economic Development Zone in Henan province according to Xinhua.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said in a press release on Sunday that the local governments of the five areas recently scratched from the blacklist have “placed great importance and worked out solutions to correct the long-lingering pollution problems.”

The five included Baiyin city in Northwest China’s Gansu Province, Chaohu and Bengbu cities in east China’s Anhui province, Handan Economic Development Zone in north China’s Hebei province and Shenxian Industrial Park in east China’s Shandong province.

According to the SEPA investigation, the water quality in a heavily-polluted main river channel in Baiyin city has considerably improved and the municipal government has stopped a local factory from billowing out chemical fog into the air. Bengbu city has closed small chemical workshops along its two main river channels and provided clean drinking water to local residents, SEPA said. In Chaohu city, Wanwei Group, a major polluter of a local water resource, has been suspended from operation and forced to rectify its waste system after paying a default waste fare of RMB11.74 million and fine of RMB500,000.

SEPA dropped the first batch of areas from the blacklist on September 24 as part of campaign to curb pollution that has seen the environmental watchdog stepping in a closing heavily polluting projects. SEPA vice director Pan Yue said a comprehensive environmental protection system including environmental assessment and economic policies should be established to limit the development of industries with high energy consumption and high pollution.