.contact us |.about us

Highlights ... ...
Control efforts urged as pollution remains serious in China
( 2003-07-03 16:33) (People's Daily)

China's central government has urged various provinces to act now to launch pollution-disposal projects after finding a national environment plan could be delayed by shortage of funds and inaction by local governments and enterprises.

The State Council, or the Chinese cabinet, called a meeting of provincial officials in charge of environmental protection work to address the urgency to fulfill the Tenth Five-year Plan on Pollution Control and Treatment in Key River Basins and Areas, which is due by the year 2005.

"All projects that have not been started in line with the plan must be launched next year," Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), told the meeting here Wednesday.

At least 67 percent of 2,418 projects for water pollution treatment, involving a total investment of 192.6 billion yuan (about 23.2 billion US dollars), were still just plans on paper so far, Xie said.

Meanwhile, 57 percent of 279 projects nationwide to reduce sulfur dioxide in the air, which is resultant from coal burning and responsible for serious acid rains and respiratory problems among local residents, have not been kicked off.

The SEPA official attributed the stagnancy mainly to the reluctance of local governments and enterprises to give financial support and take pollution control measures.

"Local governments should bear the major responsibility in financing pollution-treatment projects and adopting environmentally-friendly policies, such as fee-collection systems for sewage and garbage disposal," Xie noted.

Enterprises have also been required to keep the total amount of pollutant discharge under the government-set limits.

But shortsightedness and eagerness to develop local economy or to seek profits have driven some local officials and entrepreneursto ignore the central government's calls, he said.

By April this year, the State Council had endorsed ten five-year programs to tackle severe pollution in major rivers, lakes, acid- and sulfur-dioxide-control areas, the Bohai Bay, the Three Gorges Reservoir on central China's Yangtze River, and the easternpart of a project to divert the Yangtze to the thirsty northern China.

In spite of environmental protection measures taken in past years, "pollution remains a key factor hindering economic development, endangering people's health, and even causing social instability in some regions," Xie said.

He said that the challenge facing China was particularly enormous in comparison with developed countries, which had similar environmental problems but have dealt with them gradually in the past century.

"In China, the problems emerged just in the last 20 years as a result of rapid economic growth, which make them more difficult toresolve," he said.

Monitoring water quality at 741 checkpoints on China's top seven rivers showed that less than 30 percent reached level three,or the medium level in the nation's five-grade index for water quality monitoring, while 41 percent were below the worst level offive.

"As for air quality, 75 percent of residents in 343 Chinese cities inhale air which has been polluted in varying degrees," Xiesaid.

The treatment rate of garbage merely remained far from adequate,while that of hazardous wastes and medical wastes was almost zero in China, which could pose invisible threats to the environment and human health, Xie said.

  Go to Another Section  
  Article Tools  
  E-Mail This Article
Print Friendly Format
        .contact us |.about us
  Copyright By chinadaily.com.cn. All rights reserved