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OECD Says China Must Step Up Environmental Efforts

Guangzhou 'Pearl' River, China.

Over 2.4 million suffer water shortage in south China
Beijing (AFP) Nov 9 - More than 2.4 million people in south China have been suffering from shortages of drinking water since late October due to severe drought, state media said Thursday. The average rainfall in Guangxi Zhuang region amounted to 29 millimeters (about an inch) in October, down 65 percent from the previous year, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The regional meteorological department said eight cities and counties in Guangxi had seen no rainfall at all in the past month while the regional capital Nanning had reported a serious drought for 37 consecutive days. High temperatures have also worsened the drought in the autonomous region, with the weather being 2.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the average for October. The region's flood control and drought relief headquarters said the water storage in Guangxi's reservoirs had dropped from eight billion cubic meters (280 billion cubic feet) after the flood season to the current 4.7 billion.

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 9, 2006
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Thursday China was not doing enough to protect the environment amid the challenges generated by its rapid economic development.

"While recognizing the serious engagements of the Chinese government... these efforts have not been sufficient to keep pace with the environmental pressures and challenges generated by the very rapid growth of China's economy," said OECD deputy secretary general Kiyotaka Akasaka.

Akasaka, who presented the conclusions and recommendations of a report which will be published next spring, spoke after the OECD conducted an environmental performance review of China.

He said China's impressive economic growth during the past 15 years had been accompanied by deteriorating environmental conditions in the air, water, rivers and soil.

"China will need to strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of its environmental policies," according to one of the 51 recommendations put forward by the OECD.

Among the top recommendations were the need to make local leaders more accountable for their environmental performance, the use of market mechanisms to achieve environmental goals and the increase of sources of environmental finance.

The OECD also recommended upgrading the status of China's environmental agency, State Environmental Protection Administration, to a ministry to strengthen its supervisory power over other government authorities.

"We must indeed question the effectiveness of our efforts," Pan Yue, deputy director of the state environmental agency, told reporters.

Pan, who admitted many state environmental targets have still not been met after more than a decade of planning, described the OECD proposals as "constructive" and called for more international cooperation.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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With its blast furnaces, vats of chemical refuse and fetid stream, this town about 100 kilometers (63 miles) east of Istanbul is a symbol of Turkey's uncontrolled industrialization. No less than 170 plants and factories that are a kaleidoscope of all of Turkey's toxic industries have settled in the heart of Dilovasi, chasing the town's 50,000 inhabitants into the surrounding hills -- but not far enough to flee the pollution.

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