Saturday, Aug 30, 2014Saturday, Aug 30, 2014
Asia
 

Beijing's smog police outgunned in China's war on pollution

Published on May 14, 2014 5:17 PM
 
Chinese tourists wearing facemasks during a visit to Tiananmen Square as heavy air pollution continues to shroud Beijing, on Feb 26, 2014. Environmental inspectors in Beijing are scrambling to keep pace with a rising number of cases as the city tries to impose tough new standards on thousands of polluting firms, highlighting the growing logistical problems facing China's war on smog. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Environmental inspectors in Beijing are scrambling to keep pace with a rising number of cases as the city tries to impose tough new standards on thousands of polluting firms, highlighting the growing logistical problems facing China's war on smog.

The Chinese capital has been at the frontline of a "war against pollution" declared by Premier Li Keqiang in March, and 652 industrial facilities were punished for breaching environmental regulations there in the first four months of 2014.

Beijing's efforts are part of a promise made by the central government to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammeled growth and beef up powers to shut down and punish polluting firms.

But the city's 500-strong squad of environmental enforcers have struggled to cope with the sheer volume of complaints. "We have a total of 500 inspectors throughout the city, and it is certainly far, far from enough to ensure proper oversight," said Li Xiang, an inspector with the municipal environmental protection bureau.

 
If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here

Videos