Several factors appear to have forced those responsible for enforcing the rules to be more proactive. The recent meeting, in Beijing, of world leaders prompted the authorities to take action to limit air pollution in the city. This involved the temporary closure of several of the worst offenders, including a number of steel plants.
This brought the problem into focus and led to an intensive campaign on the internet about the need for stricter compliance to regulations on pollution. We understand that the videos have now been withdrawn but, as a result of the extensive publicity and interest generated in the subject, MEPS expects more adherence to the rules in the future.
It is difficult for companies in the heavy industries to be involved in significant expenditure on pollution control because it adds to the cost of the manufacturing process. However, investment is a necessity. Most industrial companies in the developed and emerging nations have been required to observe the regulations for many years.
Now that there is more awareness of the problem, more pressure is likely to be placed on adherence to the rules to minimise pollution in all its forms. This is not specifically a steel industry problem. It applies to many industrial sectors and power generation. It is not satisfactory for the Chinese authorities to put regulations in place and then be slow to insist on companies observing them, MEPS concludes.