China has taken plenty of steps in the past few years to reduce air pollution, but in a recent investigation, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection found that over 70% of the companies that it investigated did not meet emission standards set by the government.
More specifically, the investigation discovered that a total of 13,785 companies had partly or completely ignored strict limitations on harmful emissions that were established by the government to clean up the environment.
The ministry’s investigation is part of a year-long project aimed at examining companies in 28 different cities across the Jing-Jin-Ji area (Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei). 5,600 inspectors were sent to factories throughout the region which is notorious for having some of China’s most polluted skies.
The companies that were found to be violating pollution standards included those engaged in steel, wood processing, furniture and machinery, among many others. According to Quartz, some of them were even operating without any pollution control equipment at all.
The ministry’s report states that companies found breaking the law could receive a number of punishments, including fines, having their power and water supplies cut off or having their equipment removed.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that factories in cities like Beijing and Tianjin have come under fire for breaking pollution laws. In an earlier investigation, the ministry discovered 4,500 companies that were violating environment regulations. 70% of companies, however, is a ludicrously high percentage, but one that ultimately makes sense if you breathe on it long enough.
In March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to “make our skies blue again,” announcing a number of different measures at the start of Beijing’s annual top legislative meeting. But, of course, government regulations won’t do much if no one decides to follow them.
By Caroline Roy
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat