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. Environmental Degradation A Growing Public Danger To People In China

and the global economic boom continuing...
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jul 04, 2007
China's environment is close to breaking point and the situation is endangering people's lives, one of the nation's top anti-pollution officials said in comments published Wednesday. Pan Yue, an outspoken vice minister at the State Environmental Protection Administration, said campaigns to clean-up the environment were going backwards because the country's primary focus continued to be on economic growth. "Pursuit of short-term goals is leading to ever increasing pollution despite various measures," Pan told the China Daily in an interview.

"Traditional ways of development have caused the near breakdown of China's resources and environment, and people's lives are in great danger."

His comments come as dumped industrial waste forced drinking water to be cut off for 200,000 residents in eastern Jiangsu province.

A factory had been dumping hazardous levels of ammonia and other chemicals into a river, forcing the suspension of water supplies to residents in Shuyang county, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China's poor environment is also causing a rising number of environment-related "mass incidents", the government's term for protests, riots and other forms of public unrest, it later quoted the administration's director, Zhou Shengxian, as saying.

Zhou provided no figures on the incidents but said environmental petitions received by his agency had increased eight percent in the first five months of 2007 over last year.

The officials' comments came a day after the London-based Financial Times newspaper reported that the Chinese government had pressured the World Bank into deleting data from a report showing that 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year from pollution.

Pan's interview in the China Daily coincided with the announcement from the environmental watchdog that it had launched a crackdown in some of the country's most polluted areas, banning new industrial projects for three months.

Six cities, two counties and five industrial zones were targeted for their roles in polluting the Yangtze, Yellow, Huaihe and Haihe rivers, the China Daily reported.

More than 70 percent of China's waterways and 90 percent of its underground water are contaminated by pollution, according to previous government reports.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Hong Kong Choked By Growing Pollution Problem
Hong Kong (AFP) June 30, 2007
Discarded cigarette packets, McDonald's wrappers and even old socks litter the shores of Lau Fau Shan in Hong Kong's far north, home to what remains of the territory's oyster farming industry. From across the border in China, factories belch smoke into the fetid air over Deep Bay, one of Hong Kong's most polluted stretches of water.

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