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State goal: Clean up production technology
( 2004-01-13 22:46) (China Daily)

A number of cabinet departments Tuesday urged the massive promotion of cleaner production technologies to ensure the country's limited natural resources to sustain the nation's rapid economic development.

Related departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, said that cleaner production should be continuously implemented in chemical production, building materials, metallurgy and light industries.

Pressured by the country's resources shortage coupled with an investing spree, the commission's minister Ma Kai advocated at the end of last year that the theme of China's economic development this year will be conserving resources.

The commission's resources management official told China Daily that the suggestion brought by cabinet departments Tuesday is a major step to turn Ma's words into action.

To promote practices which involve conserving natural resources and curbing pollution, the government promulgated the Law of Cleaner Production, which has been effective since the beginning of last year.

"But we need more detailed standards regarding every industry to implement the law," said the official.

Joining forces with international experts and other government departments, the commission is working on detailed standards to ensure the smooth implementation of the law.

R.C. Lao, a Chinese Canadian working as an environmental expert with the State Council, said the standards will be made public this year.

"The standards will detail upper limits of energy and resource consumption for all sectors," said Lao, who is also the resident project manager of the Canada-China Project on Cleaner Production (CP) under the Canadian International Development Agency.

He said a massive publicity campaign should be organized nationwide to make Chinese people informed of the practices.

"Many Chinese citizens believe that CP practices will increase their cost, but on the contrary, we help enterprises use technology to reduce costs and pollution at the same time," said Lao.

With about US$8 million donated by the Canadian Government over the last five years, the two started cleaner production training and restructuring in regions including Gansu Province and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to cut pollution in oil and non-metallic sectors.

China's GDP is expected to triple by 2020, ushering in "xiaokang," or a moderately well-off society. To sustain such these economic moves, an average annual growth rate of 8 per cent is critical, along with the necessary resources to support such growth.

Aside from other problems along the bumpy road to prosperity, insufficient resources can be the single most dangerous threat to an otherwise rosy picture, said Lao.

He said China must implement a strategy of sustainable development to keep from not only exhausting its own natural resources, but also from having a serious impact on those throughout the rest of the world.

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