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Cities gear up treatment of wastewater for "green" life
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Chinese cities treated 57 percent of the wastewater they discharged last year, a rise of 17 percentage points from five years ago when the country had been stepping up environmental protection efforts.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, as much as 60 percent of the urban wastewater was discharged without treatment in 2002.

To clean up the polluted rivers and lakes in the country, the government has built more sewage treatment facilities, which resulted in the operation of 261,000 km of sewage pipelines at the end of last year, 110 percent longer than in 2002, the bureau said.

Among the 559 cities nationwide monitored by the State Environmental Protection Administration in 2006, 24 enjoyed excellent air quality, or level one on the air quality index, and 325 reported fine air quality, or level two.

In Beijing, where the Summer Olympic Games will be held in August next year, the environment watchdog reported improvement in air quality, saying they monitored 241 days of level-one or level-two air quality last year.

City environmental protection bureau spokesman Du Shaozhong said earlier they would continue to make improvement and were sure to reach the target of 245 days of excellent or fine air quality this year.

But much work has to be done in cleaning up the air as 210 cities are still suffering from light or worse air pollution that ranged from level three to level five.

(Xinhua News Agency October 7, 2007)

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