Bad pollution report spurs China into action
Bad air, polluted rivers and contaminated water supplies mean China must ban
projects that damage the environment, officials said yesterday.
environment ministry said pollution across the country was getting worse, China
signed five joint agreements yesterday with the European Union, as the United
Nations marked International Biodiversity Day.
"We should firmly forbid
projects which damage the environment or cause pollution in the construction
process," said Wang Xiaoqing, a vice minister of the State Environmental
Protection Administration (SEPA).
"Biodiversity should be regarded as a
key performance indicator," he said at the signing ceremony for the
SEPA said despite efforts to alter priorities, the situation was
Although air quality in some cities was better, in other
places "foul air emissions are beyond acceptable limits," SEPA Vice Minister Pan
Yue said in a quarterly assessment posted on the ministry's Website
Worsening air and water pollution and frequent use of
food additives and pesticides made cancer the top killer in China last year,
according to health experts.
Several major rivers and lakes are clogged
with industrial waste, officials admitted.
Pollution worsened in many
parts of the country in the first quarter of the year, according to nationwide
Pan said: "The improved air quality in some cities is
absolutely no reason for complacency because foul air emissions are beyond
acceptable limits in other cities."
sandstorms from north China helped produce an additional 13 days of clear skies
and fresh air for each city, reducing the size of airborne
China's major water systems including the Yangtze River and
Yellow River remained "mildly polluted," with no obvious alteration in water
quality in general, Pan said.
An earlier report on Yangtze River
protection and development said more than 600 kilometers of the river are in
critical condition, and pollution, damming and too many boats have caused a
dramatic decline in Yangtze aquatic life.
A recent secret SEPA
investigation of 82 polluting factories along the Songhuajiang River found more
than 80 percent of them had released pollutants exceeding national
The quality of water sources for major Chinese cities
monitored by SEPA also worsened in the first three months, Pan said.
is, however, fighting the problems. Companies that discharge pollution above
national standards will have to make the information public, in a bid to boost
the transparency of environment information. Penalties will range up to 100,000
SEPA's director Zhou Shengxian has announced a new automated
network to monitor the country's key polluters by 2008. Main polluters account
for 65 percent of China's industrial waste. The network will also monitor urban
sewage disposal plants.