New round of environmental inspections start in Hainan

A new round of central environmental inspections in six provincial-level regions and two centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs), has started according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Eight teams were dispatched to the six provincial-level areas of Shanghai, Fujian, Hainan, Chongqing, Gansu and Qinghai, as well as the two SOEs — the China Minmetals Corporation and China National Chemical Corporation, according to the ministry.

So far, the inspection teams had received a total of 809 reports from the population and will oversee and push the inspected units accountability.

China launched a series of central environmental inspections in 2016 after decades of growth left the country saddled with problems such as smog and contaminated soil.

From August to September in 2017, the Central Government dispatched a team of senior officials and experts to Hainan Province to carry out a special inspection mission on environmental protection.

On December 23, 2017, the working group issued the report based on their inspection tour. The report said that some local governments of cities and counties in Hainan Province pursued fiscal revenue from the booming real-estate development sector and ignored the importance of environmental protection and conservation, which has led to serious damage to the local environment.

The inspection team also criticized the many reclamation projects for real-estate development which have destroyed original coastal ecological systems.

Mao Dongli, deputy director of the Hainan Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment said Hainan’s own legal enforcement teams investigated 1,172 cases of environmental violation in 2018, resulting in penalties totaling 184 million yuan ($26.7 million), an increase of 76 percent year-on-year.

A total of 275 enterprises were investigated and 54 people were detained.

Data from the provincial government show Hainan completed environment appraisals for 641 projects in 2018, of which, seven were not given the green light due to unqualified selection of project sites and violations of environmental protection regulations. In the past three years, more than 500 projects were turned down because of potential environmental risks.

Starting last year, Hainan changed its GDP growth evaluation for local leaders in 12 cities and counties, including Qiongzhong, Baoting, Baisha, Changjiang, Wuzhishan, Lingao, which are core ecological resources areas in Hainan.

Traditional factors, such as GDP growth, industrial production and fixed-asset investment, are no longer decisive elements for local leaders. Instead, they are evaluated on achievements in environmental protection and development of local ecological civilization, according to a provincial government report.

Sources: xinhua.net, chinadailyhk.com, China Newsweek