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297 Cities with No Sewage Treatment
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According to a Ministry of Construction notice circulated on October 10, 297 cities had not established sewage treatment plants by the end of this June.

Of them, 63 were above prefecture level, including eight with populations of more than 500,000.

So far, 708 sewage treatment plants have been established in 661 cities with a capacity of 49.12 million cubic meters per day, twice that in 2000. The annual amount treated is now 16.28 billion cubic meters, up 43 percent on the year 2000. Of all urban sewage, 45.7 percent is treated.

But development is regionally unbalanced with the eastern region doing better than northeastern and western regions.

The notice said some established plants, beyond their trial operation periods, could not operate effectively due to ineffective administration, with some in the provinces of Shanxi and Gansu, as well as Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, charging low or no fees for sewage treatment.

In other areas construction of sewage pipes lagged behind that of plants and funds to complete their development were not guaranteed. Some plants were operating only partially because they had been designed unnecessarily large compared to actual demand.

The ministry asked the cities involved to start dealing with these problems, and said it would inspect them at an unspecified later date.

(China.org.cn by Li Shen, October 16, 2005)

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