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China To Force Polluters To Pay More

Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) June 27, 2007
China is set to double fees that companies must pay for pollution amid concerns that efforts to clean up the environment are not working well enough, state press said Wednesday. The move is aimed at forcing companies who do not care for the environment to improve their pollution habits through cost pressures, the China Daily said, citing National Development and Reform Commission vice minister Bi Jingquan.

"There is a desperate need for the country to instill the principle that those creating pollution must pay the costs," the newspaper quoted Bi of the top economic planning agency as saying.

Charges on sewage and sulphur dioxide emissions are likely to double from the current levels of 0.67 yuan (0.09 dollar) per tonne and 0.63 yuan per tonne respectively, he said, without disclosing when the new rules would take effect.

He added that companies who did not pay the fees would face a cut in electricity and water supply as the new discharge fees may be combined with utility bills.

The higher fees come amid warnings that the country might fail in 2007 to meet central government targets of reducing energy consumption and emissions for a second year running.

"In the first half of this year, we have not met the set goal (for energy consumption reduction)," Bi said. "The release of major pollutants has also not significantly declined."

China set a target to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent, or four percent each year, from 2006 to 2010.

Sulphur dioxide emissions were also supposed to be cut by 10 percent over the same period.

However all the first-year targets were missed by a wide margin.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Jakarta (AFP) June 27, 2007
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