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Environment Ministry Criticizes City for Weak Smog Response

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has publicly criticized a northwestern city on Wednesday for its slack response to recent smog.

The ministry's pollution inspection team found that Xi'an municipal government had been very slow in launching emergency responses from Dec. 8 to 22.

"It was the last city in the region to issue a warning," the ministry said in a statement. Nor did the city upgrade its emergency level when the smog worsened from Dec. 21 to 23, when Beijing issued its second red alert, the highest warning.

Measures taken against the smog were few. As a result, some construction sites were still in operation and cars with extra emissions were seen on the roads in smoggy days.

The city also lacked management of burning garden waste as well as excessive emissions by certain companies, the statement said.

The ministry has urged local government to correct the behavior or Party and government officials will be held responsible.  

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