The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on Tuesday urged local governments of four cities with declining air quality to fully implement the national plan for clean air.
The MEP on Tuesday blamed the top local-government officials of four cities in northeast Heilongjiang Province, including the capital Harbin, Hegang, Jiamusi and Shuangyashan, as air quality in these cities worsened last month.
The MEP found that major pollutants all increased in October in the cities, especially during the period between Oct. 18 and Oct. 20.
It was found that straw burning was not controlled and enterprises in these areas violated regulations by emitting pollutants.
Northern farmers traditionally burn straw after harvest and plough in the ashes, which they believe fertilizes farmland.
The MEP urged the local governments to raise the awareness of environmental protection, improve their working practices, strengthen pollution treatment and better manage staff.
The four cities must submit their plans for rectification to the MEP in 20 working days.