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The punitive fines, the first China’s environment body has imposed on local governments, came even as smog blanketed 100 Chinese cities across more than half the country last week.
Zhu Jinghai, Head of the provincial department of environment protection, said the funds gathered from the fines would aid the anti-pollution battle.
Decades of breakneck economic growth, the coal-dominated energy mix and lax environmental law enforcement has poisoned much of the country’s air, water and soil.
Air quality of the nation’s cities is of increasing concern to the new Chinese leadership as they stress on “sustainable growth”.
China’s leadership has pledged to tackle air pollution using several different measures on the city, provincial and national level, such as slashing coal consumption, closing steel plants, restricting automobile usage and creating pilot carbon markets.
Beijing has recently indicated a shift away from a growth model that has relied heavily on investment in construction and polluting industries.
“Draining a pond to catch fish is no formula for sustainable development,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping during his speech at the APEC Summit this year.