China's rapid urban development over
the last 20 years has taken its toll on the country's resources and
environment, according to a report released in Beijing on Thursday
by the country's environment watchdog.
The report entitled "Urban Environmental Protection in China" was
published by the State Environmental Protection Administration
In 1997, the SEPA launched a nationwide campaign called "National
Model City for Environmental Protection" (NMCEPs). The aim of the
campaign was to encourage local authorities to participate in urban
environment protection. 47 cities were selected to become NMCEPs,
including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Lhasa.
Prevention and Control of Urban Air Pollution
Urban air quality across China has remained stable without further
degradation since China adopted its reform and opening up policy.
This is thanks to proactive measures taken by city governments such
as adjusting energy structures, increasing the use of clean and
renewable energy, application of central heating systems, enhancing
industrial restructuring and the control of industrial pollution,
controlling vehicle fumes emission, and dust control.
In fact, the air quality in some cities has even improved.
As a result, the percentage of cities meeting Grade II national air
quality standards rose from 33.1 percent in 1999 to 38.6 percent in
2004. While the percentage of cities inferior to Grade III national
air quality standard decreased from 40.5 percent to 20.3 percent
during the same period.
In 1997, 13 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Dalian
and Xiamen started issuing weekly urban air quality reports.
From 2000, China Central Television (CCTV) and major national
newspapers launched air quality reports for 40 cities.
All 113 cities in the pilot group of the environmental protection
program should be implementing an air quality reporting system
soon. Some cities also conduct air quality forecasts.
Prevention and Control of Urban Water
The Chinese government has carried out further pollution prevention
and control work as well as conservation activities on major river
basins, waters and drinking water sources.
It has enhanced urban industrial restructuring, ordered the removal
of enterprises that are notorious for polluting waterways with
industrial waste, and implemented treatment processes for
The water quality in the centralized drinking-water sources of the
47 NMCEPs is by and large good, and the up-to-standard rate of
drinking water sources basically remained stable.
Fifty-three percent of those cities
achieved an up-to-standard rate of 100 percent in water quality,
while 80 percent achieved an up-to-standard rate of 70.2
Moreover, the up-to-standard rate of industrial effluence discharge
in the NMCEPs increased from 83.6 percent to 91.53 percent. And the
up-to-standard rate of urban water function areas went up from
89.49 percent in 1999 to 93.95 percent in 2004.
Sewage treatment capacities are also on the rise.
Domestic sewage treatment rates increased consistently from 24.7
percent in 1999 to 53.6 percent in 2004.
Prevention and Control of Urban Noise Pollution, Solid
Waste Pollution and Radioactive and Radiation
In general, China's urban acoustic environment is fairly
Monitoring results from the 2000-2004 period show that some
improvements have been made.
In terms of traffic noise, 84.4 percent of China's 328 cities
enjoyed a rather good urban acoustic environment. 61.9 percent of
them had relatively good regional acoustic environments in
However, there were still some cities that were subjected to medium
to heavy noise pollution.
Pollution caused directly or indirectly by solid wastes still
remains a widespread problem in China due to the inadequate
In 2003, over 150 million tons of household garbage was cleared and
moved away, an increase of over 70 percent from 1993.
However, the environmentally sound disposal rate of urban garbage
increased by about 30 percentage points compared with that of
In 2004, the results from a national radiation monitoring network
showed that the dosage rate of air absorption of environmental γ
(gamma) radioactivity in over 10 provinces and municipalities was
within the baseline range of natural radioactivity levels.
Electro-magnetic emission levels at most of the mobile
communications base stations were also found to have met with
Local governments at all levels are responsible for environmental
quality within their administrative regions.
The SEPA implemented the quantitative examination system for
comprehensive control of urban environment (QESCCUE) in a number of
cities in 1989.
Today, some 500 cities across China are involved in QESCCUE.
(China.org.cn June 2, 2005)