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Stimulus funding is flowing toward sewage upgrades
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08:12, June 26, 2009

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Green projects are among the major beneficiaries of the government's 4-trillion-yuan stimulus package.

Wan Bentai, chief engineer at the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), said some 210 billion yuan ($30.7 billion) will support environmental initiatives, including the construction of sewage and waste treatment facilities and improvements to energy-efficiency and ecology conservation.

A total of 160 billion yuan will flow into pollution treatment projects aimed at protecting rivers and lakes. Work will benefit Huaihe, Haihe and Liaohe rivers, Taihu, Chaohu, and Dianchi lakes, as well as reservoir areas for the Three Gorges and Xiaolangdi hydro project on the Yellow River.

Most of the investment will support sewage and waste treatment facilities, Wan said.

Projects to reduce energy use and prevent industrial pollution will get 40 billion yuan, while the last 10 billion from the 210-billion will go to ecological conservation.

"China's economic recovery will not come at the expense of environmental degradation," Wan said.

The beefed-up investment in green projects followed officials vowing to develop green industries as a new engine for economic growth.

By the end of April, about 23 billion yuan from the stimulus package had been directed at energy conservation, emission control and environmental protection, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The latest report from the Ministry of Finance shows that between January and May, spending on environmental protection rose 93.5 percent over the period last year.

Jinsha River work stalled

Wan confirmed the construction of two dams on the middle reaches of Jinsha River had been halted.

Work on the Lulida and Longkaikou hydro-electric projects, which are owned by Huadian Power and Huaneng Power respectively and located in Lijiang, Yunnan province, began in January without the mandatory environment impact assessment.

"MEP has sent an inspection team to the construction site," Wan said. "It found the two companies had already halted construction and workers had been withdrawn. People in charge of these projects from the two power companies have come to MEP to acknowledge their mistakes."

The fate of the projects will be determined via an overall assessment being carried out by NDRC, MEP and the Ministry of Water Resources, Wan said.

"Construction of the two hydro projects will only be resumed if they fit into the overall development plan for Jinsha River," Wan said.

Source: China Daily

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