Tianjin, a city in north China, has raised the fee it charges industrial enterprises who pollute the atmosphere.
The fee is now 2.75 yuan (44 US cents) per kilogram of smoke and dust, compared with the 0.275 yuan that had been charged since 2003.
The fee for dust at construction sites has also been increased — to 1.5 yuan per kilogram, according to a document issued by the Tianjin economic planning, finance and environmental protection departments.
“The 10 times increase of the fees for dust emissions is intended to urge enterprises to actively take measures to control pollutants to improve air quality,” said Li Jun, an official with the Tianjin Municipal Reform and Development Commission.
Chinese authorities have increased the fines imposed on polluters to force them to abide by the law and pay more attention to environmental protection.
In January, the country’s amended Environmental Protection Law came into effect, bringing with it tougher measures against polluters and lifting the cap on fines.
In March, a sewage purification research center in Zhangjiakou, a city in north China’s Hebei Province, received a record fine of 6.74 million yuan for discharging four to five times the national standard of pollutants. It was the heftiest pollution fine for enterprises in the city, a local environmental official said.
Beijing’s environmental watchdog announced in April that it had imposed the capital’s largest fine of 3.9 million yuan on a joint venture food company for water pollution.
A guideline unveiled by the central authorities early last month said China aims for “major progress” in building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society by 2020, with carbon dioxide emissions down 40 to 45 percent from the 2005 level.
China is aiming to reduce 15 million tons of outdated steel production capacity this year, according to economic planning officials.
Hebei has closed nearly 10,000 factories over the past two years to reduce its excessive steel, glass and concrete production and pollution, said Zhou Benshun, Party chief of the province.
Tianjin has been working with neighbors Beijing and Hebei to control air pollution over the past two years in one of China’s most heavily polluted areas.
After the closure of three coal-burning thermoelectric plants, Tianjin plans to shut 180 coal boilers by October, realizing a reduction of 5 million tons in coal use this year.
The drive to reduce pollutants and energy consumption is also encouraging companies to recycle waste.