The top environment authority named and shamed three provincial regions－Qinghai and Yunnan provinces and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region－on Monday for their delayed efforts to fulfill their water pollution reduction targets.
Since the Action Plan on Water Pollution Control and Prevention launched the national campaign in 2015, industrial zones, due to their large emissions, have been a major reduction target.
All industrial zones were required to install equipment to process sewage and to automatically monitor processing and discharging by the end of 2017, the action plan said.
"The provinces have taken measures to reach the requirements, making major progress as scheduled," the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Monday.
By the end of last year, 93 percent of all industrial zones at provincial and national level－2,198 zones－have installed equipment to process sewage, and 90 percent have managed to release realtime monitoring data online, the ministry said.
But more than 200 industrial zones were found to have failed to take these measures, including the Kashgar Economic Zone in Xinjiang, it added.
"Xinjiang, Qinghai and Yunnan have completed less than 60 percent of the work required by the end of 2017," the ministry said.
The industrial zones that failed to meet the demands, including more than 20 national-level zones, will be punished and have their qualifications canceled, the ministry said.
In addition, the regions found to be behind schedule will also be required to suspend approval of industrial projects that may discharge water pollutants, it added.
The national action plan also stipulates other targets to promote improvements. By 2020, seven major rivers including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers must have 70 percent of their water above the national standards.
To promote the improvement of water quality, China has revised the Law on Water Pollution Prevention and Control, effective Jan 1.
"It will facilitate governments to better implement measures with more comprehensive supervision and stronger punishment to deter polluters," said Li Ganjie, minister of environmental protection.