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3,176 Polluting Firms Shut Down

China shut down a total of 3,176 enterprises for pollution offenses last year during a campaign in which 720,000 companies were visited, according to the country's top environment watchdog.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) and other departments investigated 28,000 cases of which 13,000 were settled.

The sources of potable water, industrial parks and construction sites were the main targets, according to SEPA.

"Pollution by industrial parks has been curbed effectively," said a SEPA official.

A total of 1,981 industrial parks across the country, involving 29,890 enterprises, were investigated, and 4,162 were severely punished.

Six ministerial departments, including the Ministry of Supervision, participated in the campaign.

China failed to meet its energy conservation and pollution control targets last year, and environmental degradation remains a problem stifling China's economic and social development.

China reported 161 pollution accidents last year. The administration suspended 163 projects that could have damaged the environment. The projects had a total investment of 770 billion yuan (US$96 billion). Many of the projects were highly-polluting and energy-costly, such as steel and power plants.

This year China has made greater efforts to combat pollution. In March, SEPA published a list of more than 6,000 industrial polluters, including well-known companies and factories.

(China Daily May 8, 2007)

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