Chinese government is poised to conduct its first national survey of pollution sources in February to help control environmental deterioration in the country.
The study will identify and collect data on sources of industrial, agricultural and residential pollution for two months, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, or SEPA.
"The results of the census will not be linked to any punishment or evaluation of the performance of local administrations," said Zhou Shengxian, SEPA's director. Administrations, companies and institutions "should not fear repercussions but should instead guarantee true, credible results."
Last year, SEPA said China's environment was facing a grave situation, with several major rivers and lakes clogged by industrial waste.
China's environmental cleanup is compromised by more than two decades of rapid economic growth, and a lack of technology especially.
Earlier, Japan has said it would try to help China alleviate its air and water pollution in some northwestern Chinese provinces. Xinhua did not elaborate on details of the study, which was commissioned by China's State Council in 2006 after experts complained about untrustworthy statistics on the sources and extent of pollution.
"Collecting data of various pollution sources will be an important basis for environmental protection," Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan was quoted as saying.
Every province, autonomous region and municipality has set up a census office and will report to a main center staffed by officials from SEPA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Xinhua said.
Data will be reviewed multiple times before being put into a database and will be analyzed in the second half of 2008. Findings will be examined and approved by mid-2009.