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Tuesday, January 09, 2001, updated at 22:02(GMT+8)

China to Tackle Pressing Environmental Issue

China will focus on finding solutions to the problems about water and air pollution in the urban areas, noise and acid rain, in the coming five years, said a leading environmental official Tuesday in Beijing.

The country will also make efforts to ensure sufficient drinking water for the people, the official said.

All members of society will be mobilized to solve the pressing environmental problems that have great influence on national economic development and people's health, said Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), at an annual working conference of the administration.

The investment in environmental protection will make up for 1.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the coming five years. The total discharge of major pollutants in 2005 will be reduced by 10 percent in 2000, and the industrial pollution will be controlled within national standards.

China will build 50 model cities and 200 towns in environmental protection. 100 cities will release daily air quality reports and 42 key cities will have air quality forecasts.

Monthly reports, as well as reports every 10 days, on water quality of the drinking water resources of cities will be issued, according to Xie.

In addition to the pollution control program in the Liaohe, Huaihe, Haihe rivers and Taihu, Chaohu and Dianchi lakes, pollution prevention and controlling programs will be launched on the upper reaches of the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and on the mainstream of the Songhua River, said Xie.

Moreover, China will strengthen environmental protection in the rural areas and will promote green products and environmentally friendly consumption, Xie added.

"Win-win" Strategy for Economy, Environment

China will make more efforts to harmonize the relationship between environmental protection and economic development in the new century and achieve "win-win" results in the two fields, declared the official.

Xie noted that China will have an annual population increase of more than 10 million in the next five to 10 years, with an economic growth rate by over 7 percent. The western regions of China still face a weak environmental situation. Any improper economic development will endanger the environmental safety.

He said that China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will raise higher demand for the nation to protect the environment.

It takes time to realize the economic restructuring, thus the outmoded style of unsustained consumption will threaten and challenge the protection task.

He pointed out policies combining environmental protection and economic development call for further implementation in China, and the legal system to be reinforced.

In rural areas, the protection work is relatively weak, as technology and equipment in the sector has fallen short of the demand, and the foundation and capacity for environmental protection waits to be improved.

In the Ninth Five-Year period (1996-2000), China has painstakingly controlled pollutant discharge and enhanced economic restructuring, mainly closing down 15 kinds of small factories releasing serious pollutants; forced enterprises wasting resources and the large pollution makers to shut down, and promoted economic restructuring.

In the past three years, SEPA advocated clean production in the technical renovation of enterprises, with a demand on combining laws and regulations on environmental protection with economic policies. It pushed forward the urban facility construction, enhanced the pollution-preventing capacity, increased investment to environmental protection and boosted domestic economy.

To cope with the situation of economic globalization, China implemented the international environmental standards of ISO14000 and promoted green food products for the international market for the preparations of China's entry into World Trade Organization.

In This Section

China will focus on finding solutions to the problems about water and air pollution in the urban areas, noise and acid rain, in the coming five years, said a leading environmental official Tuesday in Beijing.

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