BEIJING, February 26, Xinhua -- China's environment minister said Tuesday administrative fines amounting to 15.28 billion yuan (2.28 billion U.S. dollars) were slapped on firms, organizations and individuals for environmental offenses in 2018.

Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie told a bi-monthly legislative session that the fines were almost five times the figure in 2014 before the current Environmental Protection Law came into effect.

The fines in 2018 also grew by 32 percent from a year earlier, Li said.

The minister made the statement before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress as it began deliberating a State Council feedback report on how the government responded to the legislature's inspection report and comments.

The top legislature made inspecting the enforcement of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law a priority of its supervision work in 2018.

Li said that all 38 problems identified by the inspection had been addressed, resulting in one administrative detention, 28 penalties and fines totaling 4.67 million yuan.

The State Council report said the government had strengthened supervision, overhauled polluting firms and combined advanced technologies such as remote sensing with on-spot inspections to detect environmental violations.