Billions needed for environment protection
About 1,300 billion yuan (US$157 billion) is needed for future environmental protection, an environment official predicted Tuesday.
The amount is huge for the planned 2006-10 five year plan jump from the investment needed for the period of the 10th Five-Year Plan, estimated to be 700 billion yuan (US$84.6 billion).
But Chen Bin, vice-head of the Planning and Financing Department under the State Environmental Protection Administration admitted that targeted sum for investment from 2001-05 will not be met.
By the end of 2002 only about 28 per cent of the 229.7 billion yuan (US$27.8 billion) planned for key pollution control has not been realized.
Despite the rise in the last two years, Chen said, the actual investment will not exceed 70 per cent of the planned total by the end of the year.
Priority will be given to capacity building for environment supervision and management, the treatment of hazardous waste and urban sewage and rubbish, as well as desulphurization of coal-burning power plants, according to Chen.
Investment will also be allocated to build national zones for protecting ecological functions, upgrading the management capacity of national nature reserves and harnessing radioactivity.
Chen made the announcement at a two-day international seminar on financing environmental protection in China, which opened Tuesday in Beijing.
Chen and his colleagues are currently preparing for the drafting of the country's five-year plan for environmental protection during the period 2006-10.
They forecast that investment in environmental protection during the period will account for 1.4 to 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the same period.
According to Chen, a nation in a stage of rapid economic development needs to allocate 1 to 1.5 per cent of its GDP to getting pollution under effective control.
But only when investment in environmental protection reaches 3 per cent of GDP can a country improve its environment quality noticeably.
At Tuesday's seminar, Xia Guang, director of the administration's Policy Research Centre, suggested that the government offer help to small and medium-sized companies with their financing for pollution control.
According to Xia, such companies contribute to half of the pollution caused by industrial sectors.