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China to close small paper plants to reduce pollution
Updated: 2005-10-09 09:06

China is expected to shut down a batch of paper plants in a bid to reduce pollution, according to an official with the country's environmental watchdog.

"There still exist some outstanding problems on pollution caused by paper plants despite some initial progress we've made after years of endeavors to that end," Li Xinmin, deputy head of the department of pollution control under the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China, said in Beijing on Saturday.

Speaking at a forum on the environment protection in the country's paper making industry, Li said China is determined to close major polluting paper plants, especially those small ones which are backward both in technology and operation and fail to process waste water. Some will be merged or moved out of cities, Li said, without giving the exact number.

China had more than 3,500 paper making enterprises in 2004, which yielded more than 49.5 million tons of paper products, covering 10% of the world's total.

However, the volume of annual discharged waste water is estimated at 318,000 tons, 16.1% of the country's total.

SEPA predicts China's market demand of paper products in 2010 will reach 70 to 80 million tons.

Li suggested that it is necessary to set up a management system to classify the plants into different grades, regularly announce the information on their polluting status and intensify social supervision.

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