The Chinese government recently approved a plan to cut sulfur dioxide emission by 2005 in areas troubled by the polluting gas and acid rain.
Jointly compiled by the State Environmental Protection Administration and related departments, the plan involves 96.7 billion yuan (US$11.7 billion) of investment.
By 2005, the plan aims to cut the amount of sulfur dioxide emission by one fifth from the level of 2000 in the four municipalities of Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, the 21 provincial capital cities, and 175 cities and areas above the prefecture level.
Though the size of the target area accounts for only 11.4 percent of the country's total, the amount of sulfur dioxide emission discharged there reaches 13.16 tons each year, about 66 percent of the country's overall amount.
To reduce air pollution in coal-fueled power plants by 20 percent on the 2000 level by 2005, the plan calls for increased investment, and asks local governments to impose levies on discharge of sulfur dioxide and introduce a pilot mechanism for trading the right to discharge sulfur dioxide.
China will launch 550 projects to cut the emission of sulfur dioxide by 3.87 tons a year within the next three years, and alleviate acid rain in 80 percent of the cities plagued by it, according to the plan.
(People's Daily November 8, 2002)