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Tougher penalties for air polluters

Updated: Jun 15,2015 7:06 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Polluters were given unprecedented penalties in the first four months since the new Environmental Protection Law took effect, said a statement on June 15 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The law imposes heavy fines for polluters. Since January, companies have been fined 112 million yuan ($18.3 million) in 160 cases, with Shaanxi Coalification and Energy fined 15.8 million yuan for refusing to reduce its emissions, the highest penalty so far on a single company.

The four months have seen 1,186 cases of companies having their doors sealed, 698 cases resulting in limitations or suspensions on production, 437 cases of administrative detention and 429 cases of alleged environmental crimes, it said.

Around 40 percent of all cases occurred in Zhejiang province, East China.

March and April saw a sharp increase in cases, the statement said.

Zou Shoumin, head of the environmental inspection bureau at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said companies were spending more on environmental protection under the pressure of large fines.