(ECNS) -- Heavily polluting manufacturers that illegally resumed production and discharged emissions exceeding standards were major causes of recent air pollution in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei areas of Northern China, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said.
In addition, unfavorable meteorological conditions including higher temperatures and southerly winds in the region also made pollutants in the air hard to diffuse, the ministry added.
Fog returned to northern regions on March 14. Cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang reported continuous serious air pollution on March 18 and 19, according to monitoring data.
From March 15 to 18, environmental protection authorities conducted inspections at 869 enterprises and found 202 violations including illegal production and emissions. Heavily polluting industries include steel, cement, glass and casting. The ministry has required local departments to strengthen supervision and regulation on heavily polluting enterprises.
The monitoring forecast said that air conditions in Beijing would turn better on March 20 due to rainfall and air flow. Heavy pollution in Hebei Province was expected to ease on March 21 with the arrival of cold air.
The environment ministry said it would pay high attention to air quality, strengthen supervision, require local departments to stop irregularities and punish heavily polluting production.