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Co-ordinated action needed in pollution control
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-27 22:28

By 2010, Shanghai will produce 20,000 tons of garbage every day.

That number is likely to grow by 7 per cent annually.

The recently released statistics point to an underlying environmental problem in China: Its garbage output.

Officials gathered Wednesday for an annual environmental forum, a forum underscored by the reality that the world's most populous nation produces one fourth of the world's garbage. Most of the country's solid waste is buried, taking up land and harming the environment, said a report published by Outlook Weekly.

In comparison, developed countries incinerate garbage and use it to generate electricity.

China's top environment official vowed Wednesday in Beijing that the country will strengthen international co-operation in environmental protection. The goal is to shore up the country's environmental techniques.

In international co-operation, the way of sustainable development chosen by each country, according to its own status, should be respected, said Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration Xie Zhenhua.

Co-ordinated actions are needed to solve global and regional environmental issues, while at the same time diversified development in all nations should also be accepted, he said during the Fifth Green China Forum.

He said the world should stick to the principle of "developed and developing countries taking common but differentiated responsibilities" in addressing environment problems while developed countries should shoulder more of the responsibility in protecting the global environment.

He called for more international transfers of environmental techniques while protecting intellectual property rights, saying a reasonable transfer mechanism should be set up.

Xie also urged developed countries to eliminate trade barriers caused by too high environmental standards to promote both environmental protection and international trade.

Xia Guang, director of the administration's Policy Research Centre, said China should develop more international projects to inject foreign experience and funds into environmental protection.

Xia suggested giving priority to studying ways of changing China's conventional economic development, which is not sustainable.

In addition, international co-operation should be sought in raising China's environmental protection capability, including new energy and pollution monitoring, he added.

Also at Wednesday's forum, Pan Yua, vice minister of the administration, delivered a speech on environmental protection and social equity.

He said despite the country's economic achievements, it still faces serious pollution.

Some regions and people have become rich at the cost of the environment. "Environmental inequity aggravates social inequity," he said.

He called for a new national performance evaluation system, the first step of which should be the establishment of a green GDP (gross domestic products) calculating system.

The green GDP calculating system deducts environmental costs and its results reflect the real level of the country's development, he said.

Other suggestions include readjusting the State land planning, implementing an ecological compensation system, ensuring the participation of the general public, and adopting a series of new economic policies, such as a circular economy.

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