Four steel enterprises in North China's Hebei Province have been held accountable for failing to meet emission reduction requirements and falsifying production records amid heavy pollution, which has been lingering for more than a week and affecting multiple regions, including Beijing.
According to a statement that China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment sent to the Global Times on Sunday, the enterprises were found to have been in violation during an unannounced on-site inspection led by the Minister Huang Runqiu on Thursday in Tangshan, one of the biggest industrial cities in Hebei.
Amid the level-II emergency response to heavy pollution in the city, the inspection group found that the four enterprises had been producing high loads and had falsified production records to get around the investigation. Some of them even tipped each other off and deleted data to avoid detection.
Huang stressed the important role that steel and iron enterprises played in air pollution control and vowed to crack down on their violations of laws and regulations.
Hebei environmental authorities also sent supervision groups to each city on Friday to carry out local pollution response work.
Tangshan launched a level-II emergency response to heavy pollution on March 7, which is yet to be lifted.
The city government later issued a notification requiring key industrial enterprises, such as steel and iron, coking and cements enterprises, to reduce production and emissions.
The air pollution has also affected other regions in the northern parts of China. At least seven provinces and municipalities have issued weather alerts for heavy pollution as of Sunday, including Beijing and Tianjin, the neighboring cities of Hebei.