1st nationwide pollution census to start in Feb

Updated: 2008-01-04 19:08

BEIJING -- The first national survey of pollution sources is to start in February, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said here on Friday.

The survey will identify sources of industrial, agricultural and residential pollution and also calculate the number of environmental remediation facilities in operation, said Zhou Shengxian, the SEPA director, during a meeting held by the State Council here.

It will take about two months to collect the data and each piece of information will be reviewed four times before being entered into the database, he said.

To maintain quality, random data samples will be checked again, he added.

The headquarters of the census has been established, comprised of officials from the SEPA and the Ministry of Agriculture, which manages agricultural pollution.

Every province, autonomous region and municipality has also set up an office to be in charge of the census.

"The result of the census will not be linked to any punishment or evaluation of the performance of local administrations," Zhou said. Any administration, company or institution should not fear repercussions but should instead guarantee true, credible results, he said.

The country has been preparing for the census for more than a year. The central government allocated 737 million yuan (US$100 million) to preparations in 2007.

The government is taking numerous measures to reduce pollution, but experts have complained about a lack of trustworthy statistics on the sources and extent of pollution and the number of remediation facilities.

These complaints led to the decision by the State Council in October 2006 to conduct the census.

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