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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Li calls for green drive to improve economy

By Li Jing (China Daily)

08:47, December 21, 2011

BEIJING - A balance between development and the environment is essential, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday.

"Providing basic environmental quality for its people is an essential public service for any government. It is necessary to improve the quality of life and provide a favorable environment with clear water, blue skies and uncontaminated soil," Li told a national conference on environmental protection in Beijing which was attended by provincial governors and ministers.

During his one-hour speech Li called for wider public participation to tackle problems with the environment.

These efforts should include greater protection for sources of drinking water, more thorough treatment of urban sewage, revising and publishing stricter air quality standards, preventing heavy metal pollution, better managing hazardous wastes and enhancing rural environmental protection to ensure food safety.

Calling the environmental protection industry a fresh economic engine, Li said that enhanced efforts to curb pollution can push the country to improve its economic structure.

"It is estimated that the output of green sectors - pollution treatment and energy saving - can exceed 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period," he said.

At the conference, provincial governors and heads of the country's biggest State-owned enterprises signed liability statements with the Ministry of Environmental Protection to meet their emission reduction targets between 2011 and 2015, the ministry said in a statement.

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