Environmental protection urged for rivers
( 2003-07-03 06:59) (China Daily)
Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration Xie Zhenhua Wednesday urged relevant departments at all levels to make sure that the pollution control targets for 2005 in key river areas and regions can be achieved.
Xie made this remark at a two-day national conference on pollution control in these areas and regions that opened yesterday.
Xie said these key river areas and regions in the country include those where the economic volume is remarkable, the population is big, and pollution is a serious problem. In particular, three rivers -- Huaihe, Haihe and Liaohe, and three lakes -- Taihu, Chaohu and Dianchi were mentioned.
The gross domestic product (GDP) in such river areas and regions accounts for about 75 per cent of the country's total GDP, and the population there is 62 per cent of China's total.
In this conference, Xie warned that the pollution control targets, made for the 10th Five-year Plan (2001-05), are far from being achieved at its halfway point despite unprecedented investment made in the past five years.
Between 1998 and 2002, 580 billion yuan (US$70 billion) was invested in environmental protection and ecological rebuilding.
About 67 per cent of the pollution control projects designed for key river areas are either in the preparation stage or have not even been launched yet, he said.
In particular, the implementation of pollution control projects in Hebei Henan and Anhui provinces have made slow process, he added.
Vice-premier Zeng Peiyan said at the conference that pollution control in key river areas and regions is the top priority in the country's environmental protection plan.
He said all local governments and departments involved should take their responsibility seriously and co-operate with each other to achieve goals.
Xie urged that preparation work for all of the pollution control projects should be finished by the end of this year, and the implementation should begin next year.
Local governments should increase their budgets for pollution control, and at the same time set up an incentives system to attract non-governmental investment in the field, he added.
Xie called on environmental protection departments at all levels to strictly execute anti-pollution laws and regulations.
A system monitoring the practices of enterprises will be established, so that the general public can see whether they are polluting the environment.
Enterprises that cannot meet national or local discharging standards will be ordered to restructure themselves or even close down and clean up their production methods. Environmentally friendly production will also be promoted among enterprises.
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