China: China is turning to aerial drones to monitor pollution, with its biggest mission to date is finding illegal emissions by some of the largest industrial companies in the country’s northern provinces. A unit of Hebei Iron & Steel Group, China’s leading steelmaker, Shanxi Huaze Aluminum & Power Co., and Inner Mongolia Yihua Chemical Co. were found to have “serious environmental problems,” the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website. Data gathered by the drones indicate a quarter of the 254 businesses targeted may be involved in illegal practices, it said.
Premier Li Keqiang declared war on pollution in March after swathes of northern China were blanketed in smog and the government’s climate-change adviser said the situation had reached intolerable levels. Unmanned aircraft equipped with thermal infrared cameras covered 1,000 square kilometers across the regions of Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia from June 16-27.
The ministry said it will follow up with on-the-ground inspections to ensure companies stop their illegal emissions.