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China Inspecting Atmospheric Contamination of Key Areas like Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei with Unmanned Planes

Xinhuanet, Reported from Beijing on February 11 (Journalist: Di Dongna) On the morning of February 11, Information Office of the State Council held a press conference, and Zhai Qing, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China, was invited to introduce the progress of environmental protection work of 2013. At the conference, Zhai Qing disclosed that law enforcement and supervision had been reinforced since October 2013, and unmanned planes had been used to inspect Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and surrounding key cities widely and extensively.

Zhai Qing explained that MEP has made great efforts and done a lot of work together with relevant departments of the State Council since the issuance of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan:

The monitoring and early warning system has been improved. According to requirements set out in theAir Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, EMP made careful arrangements and planning for monitoring and early warning of heavily polluted weather of key regions, especially Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, together with China Meteorological Administration, and confirmed the working procedures and standards and basic requirements. Up to now, we have sent more than 20 pieces of information to Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Cooperative Organization and prefecture-level cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei to guide the cities to conduct work on early warning of heavily polluted weather. In addition, we also issued emergency management advice on heavily polluted weather to require the above cities to carry out early warning in a better way and take proper actions in order to reduce the influence of such weather as much as possible.

Law enforcement and supervision have been reinforced. We have kept on organizing law enforcement and supervision activities once a month in each key city since October 2013. A large scale supervision activity was organized in November 2013, and 15 working teams were organized and dispatched to Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and key surrounding cities to patrol these cities or inspect them secretly and the priority was given to secret inspection. In addition, unmanned planes were used to conduct wide and extensive inspections. Each working team was equipped with a journalist. Many of the peers present at this conference attended such activity, and I extend my sincere thanks to you. The problems discovered during the inspections were published in time in order to urge relevant cities to resolve them as soon as possible. Up to now, different relevant cities have resolved more than 230 cases where they broke laws related to environmental protection.

Zhai Qing also said that from the measures taken by different cities, the situation had been improved. 25 provinces (regions and cities) had prepared plans for implementing the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan. In particular, provincial governors, mayors and chairmen of 28 provinces, cities and regions included high length of environment work plans in their reports of work during the National People’s Congress and the Chinese Political Consultative Conference that had attracted a lot of attention from the public, especially air pollution prevention and control work. Wang Anshun, Mayor of Beijing, mentioned in his work report that “we will complete the task steadfastly no matter how much is needed”; Huang Xinguo, Mayor of Tianjin, said that great breakthroughs should be made in terms of “four controls” in 2014, i.e. control of coal, control of vehicles, control of dust emission, and control of pollution; and Zhang Qingwei, Provincial Governor of Hebei, disclosed that no more than 1 t production capacity of steel, cerement or sheet glass should be output, and if any, the relevant leaders should be removed immediately, and Party leaders and government leaders should be blamed at the same time. This must be executed.