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. Pollution Worsens As Curbs Fail In China

Last month, SEPA's vice minister Pan Yue said 2006 saw serious environmental degradation in China. "The year 2006 was the most serious year for China's environmental situation," he said in a statement on the watchdog's website.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 12, 2007
China missed government-set targets to cut pollution by two percent last year as fast-paced economic growth produced more rather than less environmental contamination, state media reported Monday. Two key pollution indicators rose by more than one percent, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) reported, according to Xinhua news agency. Sulphur dioxide emissions increased by nearly 463,000 tonnes, or 1.8 percent, compared to 2005, the environmental watchdog said.

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), an index measuring water pollution, was up 173,000 tonnes, or 1.2 percent from the previous year.

Air and water pollutants were to be reduced by two percent in 2006 as part of the government's five-year plan to curb pollution emissions by 10 percent between 2006-2010.

Fan Yansheng, director of the pollution control department at SEPA, told Xinhua that the failure to meet the target was caused by economic growth.

Despite the 2006 failure, SEPA said it aimed to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions and COD by 3.2 million tonnes and 1.23 million tons respectively in 2007.

"We are optimistic we can accomplish the mission by taking a series of concrete measures," said Zhou Shengxian, director of SEPA, referring to the introduction of pollution control measures at heavy industry sites and shutting down polluting small cement, steel and power plants.

Last month, SEPA's vice minister Pan Yue said 2006 saw serious environmental degradation in China.

"The year 2006 was the most serious year for China's environmental situation," he said in a statement on the watchdog's website.

"Environmental problems have already become the major bottleneck constraining China's economic and social development."

He said China had also failed to realise its 2006 goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by four percent, although he did not say by how far China missed the goal.

However, the National Development and Reform Commission, China's planning agency, said energy consumption per unit of GDP increased by 0.8 percent during the first half of the year.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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