At least 687 Chinese officials have been held accountable for their poor environmental protection records in ongoing environmental inspections, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Tuesday.
The central government dispatched seven teams in a second round of inspections to seven provincial regions including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong to review local government work in late November.
These teams have looked into 1,893 cases and fines totalling 66 million yuan (about 9.6 million U.S. dollars) have been imposed in 1,479 cases.
A total of 3,287 officials in eight provincial areas were held accountable in the first round of inspections earlier this year for offences including allowing construction in nature reserves and worsening pollution. Punishments included some being removed from their posts.
The government is fighting pollution and environmental degradation after decades of growth have left the country saddled with problems such as smog and contaminated soil.
The central government produced a national plan on environmental improvements for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) earlier this month, which set detailed tasks on polluted air, water and soil.