A total of 20 chemical and petrochemical companies, including branches of CNPC and Sinopec, have been ordered to launch clean-ups after they were found to pose serious safety threats, state media reported. The move came following a State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) inspection of more than 100 sites. SEPA had earlier decided to stop or postpone approval for 44 projects worth US$18.7 billion because of concerns over the environmental impact of their locations. Of the 20 units ordered to clean-up, 12 are located alongside the Yellow River or the Yangtze River and have “serious hidden dangers”, SEPA said. Despite pledges made by the companies to spend US$200 million on improvements, SEPA deputy head Pan Yue said these were only temporary measures.