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Friday roundup of environmental news and commentary of the week

China firm fined for pollution in landmark case [NDTV]

China’s first ever public litigation case against a polluting industry for causing air pollution was successful, ending in a  22 million RMB fine for a glass manufacturing company in Dezhou Shandong Province. The lawsuit was filed by the All-China-Environment Federation, a government affiliated environmental group. While some previous cases filed under China’s fairly recent 2015 environmental protection law successfully sued polluters for illegally dumping toxic chemical waste, this is the first time a public interest case has sued for air pollution. The Jinghua Group Zhenhua Decoration Glass Limited Company has also been ordered to issue a public apology.

Ships worsen air pollution over China, killing thousands: study [Reuters]

China’s shipping boom is aggravating its already severe air pollution problem, a new study suggests. Oil fumes from maritime traffic off the coast of China has driven up levels of sulphur dioxide and other pollutants which cause an estimated 24,000 premature deaths a year.

Air pollution up in a third of Chinese cities: Greenpeace [Phys.org]

China’s air pollution has been seeing continuous improvement over the past year or so, but the past 3 months has seen air quality worsen  in over 100 cities. The worsening air quality correlates to an uptick in coal-burning heavy industry in the second part of this year. Read more here.

42 dead as storms sweep the nation [Shanghai Daily]

North China was battered by storms this week, killing 42 people and leading to hundreds of  thousands of people being evacuated. The storms caused major flooding in parts of Hebei and Henan, leveling homes and damaging huge swathes of farmland. The storms follow last week’s Typhoon Napartak which killed 83 people when it hit the southeastern province of Fuzhou.

China removes need for hazchem licences [Chemical Watch]

China's environment ministry has removed the requirement for companies to obtain a licence from local environment agencies or the MEP. This is worrying news as it could potentially loosen the country’s already lax hazardous chemical management system.