A senior legislator Gu Xiulian has pledged that China will take a number of measures to improve air quality.
Gu, Vice-Chairman of the NPC Standing committee, made the pledge on Tuesday at the closing session of a UN Environment Program conference in Beijing. The meeting gathered winners of the Sasakawa Prize to focus attention on the need to clean up China's polluted environment.
During the conference, the winners of the "Sasakawa Environment Prize" explored issues concerning water, land, air and energy use. The acclaimed environmentalists made a long list of recommendations on ways to deal with China's environmental problems.
US Nobel Laureate Professor Mario Molina said, "I think China recognizes the concept of sustainable development. For this economic growth to continue and not to be a short-lived phenomenon, it is essential to incorporate worries about the environment."
With China ambitious to quadruple the size of its GDP in the first twenty years of this century, the government is worried about the toll on the environment.
At the conference, senior legislator Gu Xiulian admitted that the government faces the huge challenge of trying to balance improving air quality and ensuring people's health with maintaining rapid economic growth.
She pledged several measures to curb environmental pollution in China.
First, China will continue to optimize the energy consumption structure, with a focus on the clean use of coal.
Secondly, China will accelerate the pace of reducing sulfur pollution from fuel-powered electricity plants. New coal-burning plants will not be built in and around large and medium sized cities.
Thirdly, China will strictly control vehicle exhaust emissions, prioritize the development of public transport and encourage the development and efficient use of clean fuels.
Gu Xiulian also stressed the importance of raising public awareness of environmental pollution and encouraging grassroots participation in addressing these problems.
(China Daily September 30, 2004)