about air pollution in China's capital double in five
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[June 14, 2014]
BEIJING (Reuters) -
Complaints about air pollution in the Chinese capital of
Beijing more than doubled in the first five months of
2014, the city environment authority said, a sign of
rising public anger about the cost of rapid economic
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Bureau revealed late on Friday
that 12,599 formal complaints about smog were lodged by members of
the public from January to May, 124 percent higher than the same
period of last year.
Beijing, routinely shrouded in hazardous smog, has been on the front
line of a "war against pollution" declared by Premier Li Keqiang in
March in a bid to head off growing discontent about the state of the
country's skies, rivers and soil.
Smog was involved in 72.6 percent of the total number of
environment-related complaints submitted to the Beijing authorities
from January to May, the environmental bureau said.
In a bid to defuse potential sources of unrest, China's leaders have
been desperate to show they are firmly on the side of the public in
the battle against pollution, setting up hotlines, task forces and
rapid response teams, and encouraging the public to participate in
campaigns against violators.
A newly amended environmental law also stipulates that authorities
must ensure transparency and accountability, and also promises to
improve access to the court system for people harmed by pollution.
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In a separate notice, the Beijing environmental bureau said as many
as 114 firms had been punished this month after its latest week-long
campaign targeting environmental violations in the catering, car
manufacturing and car repair sectors.
It said the firms were ordered to pay a total of 2.45 million yuan
($394,600) in fines.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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