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193 in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster found in violation of regulations
One hundred and ninety-three companies in northern China were exposed this week as having broken environmental regulations.
Law enforcement teams sent to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region carried out checks at 1,544 enterprises across 185 counties on Monday. It was thtiffany and co dog tage first day of far-reaching inspections by the country's top antipollution watchdog.
The 103 companies - 13 percent of the total - were found to have violated rules aimed at preventing air pollution, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a statement on Wednesday.
Inspectors found 47 poorly managed polluting companies that had failed to rectify problems that had been identified in the central government's previous round of checks.
They also found three others were left off a list of air-polluting companies, meaning their operations were restricted during times of heavy air pollution.
In April last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection - now part of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment - mobilized 5,600 environmental officers nationwide for a yearlong inspection targeting air pollution in 28 major cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Each of the inspectors conducted inspections for two weeks out of their home cities and would hand off any violations or problems they found to a succeeding team.
On Monday, officers also found that 86 construction sites, factories and mines had failed to cover their materials as required, potentially becoming sources of airborne dust.
According to the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, dust has been a major contributor to concentrations of PM2.5 - tiny particulate matter harmful to health.
While 18 companies were found without the required air pollution control facilities, the equipment at 19 other enterprises failed to operate normally.
The ministry handed off all the violations it found to local governments for further investigation and punishment.
The ongoing inspections, which will last until April, will also cover the Fenhe and Weihe river valleys in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces and the Yangtze River Delta.
According to another statement from the top environmental watchdog, major cities in China have seen an increasing number of days with fairly good air quality this year. The average density of PM2.5 in those cities decreased by almost 8 percent year-on-year.
In May, the 338 major cities in the country saw about 83 percent of days with fairly good air quality, up by 23 percent over January and almost 9 percent over April.
The concentration of PM2.5 stood at 31 micrograms per cubic meter, down by about 6 percent year-on-year. The concentration of PM10 - larger particulate matter - also dropped by 2.3 percent to 85 mg per cubic meter.
Despite the improvement, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region continues to suffer the worst air quality in the country. Only about 51 percent of days in the region had fairly good air quality in May, though the region has seen decreases in both PM2.5 and PM10 year-on-year.
Nine of the 10 cities at the bottom of an air quality ranking of 74 cities in May are from the region or areas nearby. Beijing shows up in the list at No 69