Wen calls for more urgency on pollution

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-07-10 06:48

Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday called on the nation to redouble its efforts to tackle pollution and global warming, according to a statement posted on the government's website.

Speaking during a government meeting on energy saving and climate change, Wen said the country needed to fully grasp the urgency of the task at hand.

"We should show more determination and take stronger measures to address this issue in an urgent manner," he said in a statement posted on www.gov.cn.

The statement offered no new policy initiatives but appeared to serve as a reminder that China is serious about trying to reduce its consumption of oil, gas and coal and to rein in the emissions causing global warming.

Wen has spoken previously about the huge challenges China faces as it struggles to meet energy efficiency goals in the face of unbridled economic growth.

China's ability to meet its energy-saving targets was crucial to ensuring Beijing's credibility and fulfilling the country's responsibilities on the world stage, the statement said.

The government needed to conduct further studies on policies related to climate change, it added.

Beijing has said it aims to reduce emissions of major industrial pollutants by 10 percent and cut the amount of energy used to generate each dollar of income by 20 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Also yesterday, the country's top economic policymaking agency said the most stringent water treatment standards will be practiced in three freshwater lake basins - Taihu, Dianchi and Chaohu - which have recently suffer algae outbreaks.

The National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) posted its treatment plan for the lakes on the website.

The plan, by its Deputy Director Du Ying, requires the top standard for wastewater treatment to be applied soon in places around Taihu and Dianchi Lakes, and later in Chaohu Lake.

According to the highest standard, the chemical oxygen demand (COD), a major water pollution index, will be reduced from the current 60 mg per liter to 50 mg per liter. Suspended solids are to be cut from 20 mg per liter to 10 mg per liter. And coli groups are to be cut from 10,000 per liter to 1,000 per liter.

Meanwhile, the NDRC also ordered the lake areas to take the national lead to practice all the 106 items of the new potable water test, which came into effect this month.

Agencies contributed to the story

(China Daily 07/10/2007 page3)

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