Shaanxi province was found lax in reducing coal burns and upgrading industrial structure, which caused a worsening air quality in Xi'an and other cities last year, environmental inspectors sent by the central government said on April 11.
During the one-month environmental inspection that started on November 28 last year, officials identified 1,309 pollution problems in the province, said Li Jiaxiang, head of the inspection team.
As of end-February, 222 polluting companies had been shut down and 26 people responsible for pollutions were detained, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement.
In addition, 492 government officials from the province were summoned to talk with the inspectors and 938 officials were held accountable for poor performance in pollution controls, the ministry said.
It is the first province that had received results in the second round of environmental inspections. The other six regions, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, will receive their results in the coming days.
The teams of central inspectors, headed by ministerial-level officials, set out on a pilot one-month inspection in Hebei province on Jan 4, 2016. Over January 4-December 30, they have held two rounds of inspections covering another 15 provincial-level regions.
"In these 16 provincial regions, over 6,300 government officials were summoned for talks and another 6,400 were held accountable," Chen Jining, minister of Environmental Protection Ministry, said last month. The inspectors will visit the remaining 15 provincial-level regions this year, he added.
Shaanxi province was expected to cut coal consumption by 3 million tonnes in 2015, while the reduction was only 110,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, three coal-fired power plants in Xianyang that had been required to reduce coal consumption actually increased coal use by over 180,000 tonnes.
In 2014, the province cut coal consumption in large companies by 2.95 million tonnes, far less than the targeted 10 million tonnes, according to the ministry's statement on Tuesday.
The ministry blamed the worsening air quality in Xi'an and Xianyang last year on weak controls over coal consumption and other poor implementation of pollution control policies.
(Writing by Tammy Yang Editing by Harry Huo)
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