China pollution

China’s smog inspectors held captive during checks on polluting factory

Team held at plant in Shandong province for over an hour after they found it was still using a coal-powered boiler that should have been scrapped

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 11:51am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 April, 2017, 10:17pm

A team of inspectors from China’s environmental protection agency was held against their will for over an hour while they were carrying out pollution checks at a factory.

The case reflects the difficulties inspectors face as they attempt to tackle the nation’s chronic air pollution.

The inspectors were carrying out checks at Lujie Energy-saving Technology Co in Jinan in Shandong province, the ministry said in a statement.

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The team found the factory was still using a coal-powered boiler that should have been demolished as well as other problems in tackling emissions.

The factory owner became angry, refused to supply documents and locked the factory gate to stop the inspectors from leaving on Sunday, the ministry said.

The team was eventually freed after inspectors called the police.

The team was part of about 5,600 inspectors carrying out checks in the country’s biggest anti-pollution surveys in northern China.

The municipal government in Jinan issued a statement saying it has suspend production at the factory and police have summoned four people over the incident.

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The ministry reported last month that thousands of polluters in northern China had faked emissions data and some had resisted checks from inspectors in February and March.

Many local governments still “don’t act, or act blindly” to clean up air pollution, the ministry added.

In one example, the local government in Shijiazhuang in Hebei province had encouraged the installation of heavily polluting coal-fired furnaces.