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China names and shames two provinces over slack marine protection effort

Updated: Jan 15,2018 11:26 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on Jan 14 criticized the governments of East China’s Jiangsu province and northeastern Liaoning province for failing to supervise land reclamation and control pollution along its coast.

An SOA inspection team exposed a number of flaws concerning land reclamation in Jiangsu after an investigation in the province from August to September, said a SOA news release.

The province made slow progress in restoring environment along its coast, the statement said, adding that it only finished restoring the environment along half of the 300-km targeted coastline required by the State Council.

The provincial government was also found to have violated state regulations by delegating the power of granting administrative approval for small land reclamation projects to the city government of Nantong, the statement said. A total of 14 projects, involving 81.29 hectares of reclaimed land, have been wrongly approved since 2012.

A large amount of reclaimed land remains deserted, the statement said. From 2012 to 2017, about 2,328 hectares of sea waters were transformed into land but only 21.28 percent of them were actually developed.

Developers of 184 land reclamation projects had not obtained government approval before they started building their projects.

The province was also found failing to effectively protect nature reserves. Fish farming has still been operated in about 9,955 hectares of sea waters around a national wetland reserve in Jiangsu, where such commercial operations should have been banned, according to SOA.

The land contributed to more than 85 percent of pollutants in offshore waters along the Jiangsu coast, and the provincial government did not have a complete list of polluters.

The provincial government was told to submit a plan for rectification within 30 work days and report the progress within six months.

The SOA also demanded Liaoning province rectify its problems concerning land reclamation.

Liaoning was also found poorly implementing laws and state policies and failing to effectively supervise land reclamation projects and control pollutants from being discharged into the sea.

Although the provincial government fined polluters and violators of reclamation regulations, more than half of the fines have not been collected nevertheless, according to the SOA statement.

Among 211 waste water drains into the sea registered by the provincial environment authorities, 68 were not approved through legal procedure and some of the drains have not been carefully monitored.

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