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China to blacklist, penalize polluting cities
Updated: 2005-10-25 06:57

China is to blacklist cities that fail to reach national air quality standards and penalize them by warning off investors, environment officials said on Monday.

The State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) will also control construction projects that could worsen air pollution in the worst-offending cities.

"The list will be announced regularly to warn cities of deteriorating air quality," the Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang Lijun, SEPA's deputy director, as telling a forum on air quality.

China's economy has grown into the world's seventh-largest during more than two decades of economic reform, but its growth has come at the expense of the environment. China is the world's second-largest producer of greenhouse gases.

Large Chinese cities are typically choked by car exhaust, factory emissions and construction dust, and pollution is compounded by coal-burning heating plants lit during the winter.

Zhang said there would be serious consequences for human health if emissions of sulphur dioxide were not curbed. SEPA was drafting a program focused on cleaning up coal power plants, with coal used to generate more than two-thirds of the country's power.

China's emissions of sulphur dioxide were the highest in the world last year, causing acid rain across 30 percent of the country, Xinhua said.

With China also the world's fastest-growing car market, SEPA official Li Xinmin said it would also write regulations aimed at curbing auto pollution into the country's 11th Five Year Plan, which will come into effect from 2006.

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