BEIJING -- Beijing launched its first survey of pollution sources on Friday in a bid to improve the environment.
The survey will investigate 82,000 sources of industrial, agricultural and residential pollution and pollution treatment facilities across the city, said Zhong Liangxi, an official with the pollution sources department of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Seven thousand people recruited from the public will receive training courses on statistics, how to fill out investigation forms and study relative rules and regulations about pollution control.
They will begin visiting each of the pollution sources in February and the investigation is expected to be completed in June. All the information will be put into a database and the final analysis will be announced in July 2009, said Zhong.
"The move is significant for working out scientific policies on pollution control in Beijing, as the sources of pollution have kept changing in recent years amid economic development," said Zhong.
Beijing's endeavor is part of the first ever nationwide pollution survey set to start next month.
Data collection will be completed in the first half of the year, and the information will be analyzed in the second half. In the first half of 2009, the survey findings will be examined and approved, the State Environmental Protection Administration said on Friday.
The results of the survey will not be linked to any punishment or evaluation of the performance of local administrations, it said.
The State Council decided to conduct the survey in October last year in response to complaints from experts about a lack of reliable statistics on the sources and extent of pollution and the number of remediation facilities.
In preparation for the campaign, the central government allocated 737 million yuan (US$100 million) in 2007.
China has suffered severe environmental deterioration amid its rapid economic development. Official statistics show that sulfur dioxide emissions in 2005 were 27.8 percent higher than in 2000.
Water pollution has been worsening as well: 26 percent of surface water is totally unusable, 62 percent is unsuitable for fish and 90 percent of the rivers running through cities are polluted.
But the country managed to reduce the emission of main pollutants, sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand (COD), in the first nine months of 2007.
The energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) also dropped three percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of last year.