The top officials of Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, pledged to preserve the city's environment as mega steel, petrochemical and paper-making projects progress as scheduled.
Construction will start in the third quarter of this year on the main works of the Baosteel Zhanjiang Iron and Steel project, designed to produce 9.2 million metric tons of iron and 10 million tons of steel annually.
The technical preparations will be concluded before June for the main construction work on the project between China Petroleum and Chemical Corp and Kuwait Petroleum Corp, designed to process 15 million tons of crude oil and produce 1 million tons of ethylene annually.
Both the projects, located on the 286-sq-km Donghai Island in the city, are scheduled to be completed in 2015 and start operation the next year, said Mayor Wang Zhongbing during the ongoing annual session of the provincial people's congress.
A massive paper-making project by Guangdong Guanhao High-tech Co is set to start operation in May. The construction of a China Paper Corp project will kick off in May and the second phase of the Chenming Group project will start later this year, said the city's Party chief Liu Xiaohua.
Zhanjiang is one of 13 prefecture-level cities in Guangdong with a per capita GDP below the national average, Liu said.
The major projects are the key part of the government's plan to meet the national average and realize the city's emergence in five years, he said, adding the goal calls for an average annual economic growth of at least 15 percent in the five years to 2016.
In his government work report to the annual session of the provincial people's congress, the Guangdong governor Zhu Xiaodan pledged to speed up projects in Zhanjiang, push forward economic transformation and build a modern economic system.
Despite the mammoth industrial projects, Liu said he is confident the city will preserve its sound environment in the coming five years.
The city boasts the best quality coastal water in the country and ranks among the top three in the 113 key environmental protection cities in air quality.
Those projects are concentrated in industrial parks, Liu said, promising strict environmental thresholds and enforcement.
A committee has been set up among the city government and the operators of the steel and petrochemical projects to build the State-level demonstration zone on Donghai Island, Wang said.
All the industrial waste from the two projects will be recycled and some will be recycled between the two projects, which are only 500 meters apart, Wang said.
"We hope Donghai Island will always boast its ecological beauty," he said.
Parties involved in the major projects in Zhanjiang should learn from the benchmark companies in the same industries from home and abroad to minimize the environmental impact, said Zhou Yongzhang, director of the Center for Earth Environment and Resources at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.
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