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How should the paint industry address environmental issues in the current situation?

In recent years, with the continuous growth of China’s economy, the pollution problem has become increasingly serious. In many northern regions, haze has become a major concern for people’s healthy lives. The country is paying increasing attention to how to effectively prevent and control haze and pollution.

On April 5, 2019, the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that 5600 people from across the country would be dispatched to carry out a one-year strengthened supervision of air pollution prevention and control in the “2+26” cities along the Beijing Tianjin Hebei and surrounding transmission channels. This strengthened inspection is the largest action directly organized at the national level in the history of environmental protection.

From the video conference deployment work held on April 5th to the first training class held on April 6th, and then to the first batch of inspection teams all in place on the evening of April 7th. Finally, on April 11th, the Ministry of Environmental Protection held a video conference in Beijing to mobilize and deploy the inspection work. In just one week, all work was ready and in full swing, sharpening the knife and rushing towards polluting enterprises.

Environmental supervision has always been highly concerned by coating companies. In 2016, many small and medium-sized paint companies were shut down or closed down due to environmental inspections. In 2017, environmental inspections were upgraded, and paint companies seemed to have a feeling of rain and wind filling the buildings.

Actually, there is no need to panic, as this inspection is aimed at enterprises with strong pollution, and may even be an opportunity for enterprises that meet standards.

This inspection operation mainly focuses on seven aspects, including: the implementation of air pollution prevention and control tasks by relevant local governments and departments at all levels; The operation and up-to-standard discharge of environmental protection facilities for fixed pollution sources; Installation, networking, and operation of automatic monitoring facilities for “elevated sources”; Investigation and suppression of “scattered and dirty” enterprises; Implementation of measures to stop and limit production in staggered production enterprises; Installation and operation of treatment facilities for volatile organic pollutant enterprises. From the description, it can be seen that this action not only supervises enterprises but also politics. Compared to previous inspections, this operation has the characteristics of strong organization, strong supervision, long time span, and large inspection scale.

 

The specific steps for supervision can be roughly divided into: firstly, the Ministry of Environmental Protection provides daily progress information on 2+26 “urban work, a list of” small and scattered pollution “enterprises to be investigated, air quality monitoring analysis and prediction information, automatic monitoring information of” elevated sources “and changes in pollutant emissions,” hot grid “supervision information, environmental law enforcement supervision platform information, and” 12369 “report and complaint acceptance information.

Then, based on the information provided by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the list provided by the cities under inspection, the inspection team adopts a combination of random sampling and a ‘hot grid’ approach to strictly investigate environmental violations by industrial enterprises, as well as inadequate air pollution prevention and control work

Moreover, from previous environmental supervision actions, it can be seen that these types of enterprises will be heavily supervised, including coal, steel, printing and dyeing, electroplating, furniture manufacturing, painting, chemical, petrochemical, smelting, plastic, non-ferrous metals, coatings, building materials, papermaking and other related manufacturing enterprises. The common ground of these enterprises is high energy consumption and emissions, and they have always been a key national regulatory enterprise. The key issues that enterprises should pay attention to are as follows: dust pollution, unorganized discharge of pollutants, non operation or lack of pollution control facilities, illegal discharge, black smoke, lack of business license or discharge certificate, incomplete procedures, false monitoring data, illegal resumption of production, refusal to inspect, etc.

In fact, environmental inspections may be a major blow to high energy consuming industries such as steel and coal. But for coating companies, in addition to the two positive impacts of eliminating outdated production capacity and rectifying industry order, environmental supervision may also indirectly affect the prices of coating products. The peak limit and staggered production of some small and medium-sized coating raw material enterprises and coating product enterprises, or even the shutdown, may have an impact on the prices of coating products. The shutdown of titanium dioxide in Panzhihua in 2016 dealt a heavy blow to the already skyrocketing price of titanium dioxide at that time, causing the price of titanium dioxide to continue to rise and increasing the production costs of coating product enterprises.

Everything has a dual nature, and environmental upgrading not only brings challenges to many coating companies, but also brings development opportunities. The development of environmentally friendly coatings such as water-based coatings, solvent-free coatings, powder coatings, and high solid coatings is timely. When facing this environmental crisis, coating companies not only need to be strict with themselves, but also need to carry out industrial transformation, upgrading, and innovation to solve the problem from the root.

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