The country"s top environmental authority vowed on Friday to curb the falsification of monitoring data and ensure institutes are not interfered with, as it unveiled a three-year campaign on environmental monitoring.
The campaign will cover all 31 provincial regions on the Chinese mainland from 2018 to 2020. Key areas for inspections will be the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, Yangtze River Delta, and Fenhe-Weihe plain in Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces, according to the plan released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
The campaign will also cover service providers to monitoring stations and the monitoring facilities of polluting enterprises, it said.
Inspections will be done randomly. The ministry will choose 10 percent of the air or water monitoring stations, 200 environmental monitoring institutes and 100 motor vehicle detecting companies to inspect each year, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
"The ministry will strengthen cooperation with the State Administration for Market Regulation and carry out joint action to exploit the two government bodies" advantages to the full. An information sharing mechanism will be established to enhance the efficiency of environmental monitoring institute supervision," it said.
The two government bodies will launch a special inspection on environmental monitoring institutes and motor vehicle detection centers after mid-August. The cooperation will be of "milestone significance" as it could help develop a "long-term mechanism" for the supervision work, it said.
Institutes with violations will be fined or have their monitoring qualifications revoked. Those involved in data falsification will be transferred to judicial bodies and be prosecuted for criminal liability. Officials involved in falsification will also face disciplinary penalties, it said.
The ministry vowed to create an atmosphere in which no one dares to falsify data by exposing typical violations via media.
The campaign was launched against the backdrop of polluting enterprises being frequently found to have falsified their environmental monitoring data, and some local authorities have also been found to have "beautified" data.
Six air quality monitoring stations in Linfen, Shanxi, for example, were tampered with more than 100 times from April 2017 to March this year.
A local court has sentenced 11 people involved in the incident, including the head of Linfen environmental protection, to prison or detention of up to two years in May.