Beijing’s polluters cough up US$16m

Authorities in Beijing collected more than 100 million yuan (US$15.8 million) in fines issued to polluting companies in the first nine months of the year, almost double the sum generated in the same period of 2014, the city’s environment bureau said yesterday.

A total of 2,492 cases were investigated in the period, the majority of which concerned air and water pollution, as well as construction projects that failed to meet relevant standards, it said.

More than 11,600 companies and organizations were subjected to checks in the January-to-September period as part of a concerted effort to crack down on such violations, the bureau said.

Since the introduction of a new environmental protection law on January 1, officials have had the power to impose much heavier fines on polluting companies, and the longer it takes them to right their wrongs, the more they pay.

As winter approaches, officials will continue to focus their efforts on curbing illegal coal burning, waste fires and dust from construction sites, the bureau said.

October also saw the introduction of a new levy on companies that emit volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the creation of tiny, hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5.

Packing firms, printers and manufacturers of furniture, petrochemicals, cars and electronics are all subject to the charge — of between 10 to 40 yuan per kilogram of matter discharged — which is higher than the cost of treating such emissions, so it is hoped it will encourage cleaner practices.

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