"If the air conditions in all areas reached the nation's second level, 178, 000 deaths would be avoided every year," said Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), at an international symposium on air quality management in Beijing on Oct. 24.
Zhang said SEPA has started to make efforts in curbing air pollution and solving urban and regional environmental problems.
Measures include drawing up and implementing a 2006-10 program for the prevention and control of acid rain and sulfur dioxide, which will lay more emphasis on the integration of local and national control; tightening the monitoring on pollution from motor vehicles and adopting more contingent standards for emission of the newly-produced, strengthening annual inspection on environment protection, improving the quality of fuels and reducing their sulfur content.
SEPA will regularly release a list of substandard cities. Those fail to improve for years will have to establish an early warning mechanism for investment risk and prospect industrial projects will be subject to tightened control.
It is learned that air pollution in China's urban areas has been somewhat eased during the five years between 1999 and 2004.
However, gas pollution remains at a rather high level and rather serious in some cities as about one fifth urban residents are still affected and the composition of pollutants has been increasingly complicated.
By People's Daily Online