Chinese inspectors find widespread violations of environment rules

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The latest round of air pollution inspections in China have uncovered many violations of environmental rules among companies.

Some 23 inspection teams examined 319 businesses on Sunday and discovered that 251 companies, or 79 percent of the total, violated environmental standards in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and other nearby areas.

Excessive emissions, insufficient pollution-control equipment or failure to install pollution-control equipment were among the most common problems for the inspected businesses, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Monday in a statement.

The ministry has asked local authorities to shut down businesses or halt production at companies that failed to meet the standards.

The ministry issued punishments in nearly 5,000 cases related to violations of environmental protection regulations and laws in Q1, up around 200 percent year on year.