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China behind in pollution drive

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 22, 2007
China has failed to meet its targets in cutting pollution this year as dirty factories continue to have free rein in pumping out discharges, authorities said in comments published Wednesday.

However some progress is being made and pollution emissions are showing signs of easing, the China Daily reported, citing a joint study by the government's main environment and economic departments.

China has set a goal of reducing two major pollutant indicators -- sulphur dioxide for air and chemical oxygen demand for water -- each by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010, an average decline of two percent a year.

However sulphur dioxide emissions fell by just 0.88 percent in the first six months of this year, while chemical oxygen demand increased by 0.24 percent.

The failure to meet the targets in the first half of 2007 comes after both the pollution indicators increased last year, putting China immediately well behind in its five-year campaign.

A senior official with the State Environment Protection Administration, Zhao Hualin, said local governments were largely to blame for ignoring orders from Beijing and chasing short-term economic gains at the cost of the environment.

Zhao said local governments too often failed to monitor or punish polluters.

However the administration pointed out that at least the pollutant emissions had come down slightly from previous years, showing that some progress was being made.

An editorial in the China Daily also said local governments were to blame for the failure to meet the environmental targets.

"Local officials are yet to change their mentality of placing economic growth before environmental concerns," the editorial said.

It referred tostatistics showing power plants, steel, and other highly-polluting industries increasing by more than 20 percent in the first six months of the year, negating good work by other sectors.

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Water, Air And Soil Pollution Causes 40 Percent Of Deaths Worldwide
Cornell NY (SPX) Aug 16, 2007
About 40 percent of deaths worldwide are caused by water, air and soil pollution, concludes a Cornell researcher. Such environmental degradation, coupled with the growth in world population, are major causes behind the rapid increase in human diseases, which the World Health Organization has recently reported. Both factors contribute to the malnourishment and disease susceptibility of 3.7 billion people, he says.

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