Pollution costs US$200b each year
Updated: 2006-06-05 16:56
A distressed family yesterday
take out dead fish from their pond in Xiaoshan District of Hangzhou,
capital of East China's Zhejiang Province. The fish were first found
floating on Friday afternoon, possibly due to pollution from a nearby
factory, according to Yin, the owner of the fishpond. Fish, shrimps, crabs
and tortoises weighing 50,000 kilograms were dead by yesterday, causing a
loss of 300,000 yuan (US$37,500), Yin said. The local environment
authorities are investigating the case.
China's pollution problems cost the country more than US$200 billion a year,
a top official said Monday as he called for better legal protection for grass
roots groups so they can help the government clean up the environment.
Zhu Guangyao, deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Agency,
estimated that damage to China's environment is costing the government roughly
10 percent of the country's gross domestic product. China's GDP for 2005 was
Despite government efforts, China's environmental picture is not improving,
but worsening, he said, and "allows for no optimism."
Zhu said environmental nongovernment organizations can play "important roles
in promoting or pushing governments" to solve environmental problems.
He acknowledged that some local officials were not implementing the the
central government's guidelines very well.
Zhu said implementing the central government's guidelines would also be a
challenge for local officials who are accustomed to being judged on growth above
all else and are fearful of the economic impact of tighter environmental
"Local environmental NGOs do not dare criticise local
governments for their unscientific decisions," Zhu said. "Some local governments
are reluctant to implement or are even working against environmental laws."
He also listed seven tasks as the major environmental protection work in the
coming five years. The most important task is water pollution control, with
focus on drinking water security. The second is to step up urban environmental
protection, especially the pollutants control in cities.
He highlighted the reduction of sulfur dioxide discharge as the focal work in
air pollution control, the third of the tasks.
Other tasks include rural environmental protection, with emphasis on soil
pollution control, eco-system protection, enhancement of nuclear and other
radioactive sources security and implementation of the state environmental
Only these tasks be fulfilled can we achieve the environmental protection
targets set by the 11th Five-Year Program, Zhu said.