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People Share Concern for the Environment
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The deteriorating condition of China's environment is a concern shared by the majority of the country's people, shows a recent survey.

The survey conducted by China Environmental Culture Promotion Association, under the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), identified that more than 60 percent of people felt the condition of the environment was very serious.

Only 24 percent of the 4,482 residents polled across 28 towns and cities said they were happy with the overall condition of the environment.

"The environment along with medical and educational problems are the three major public concerns," association secretary-general Wang Panpu said yesterday.

Residents enjoy an environmental protection activity organized by a community in north China's Tianjin Municipality.

The survey asked 14 questions closely related to the daily lives of people such as food and drinking water safety, air pollution and waste disposal. And 86 percent of respondents said environmental pollution had harmed people's health.

Food safety was a big concern for 82 percent of people after a series of food poisoning and sub-standard food cases were detected. Water pollution, which hits the headlines frequently, made drinking water a major concern for 81 percent of respondents.

The survey also found that 10 percent of urban people and 7.5 percent of rural residents believed the places they lived were not healthy.

However, only 16 percent of respondents said they would tip off the responsible departments if they saw enterprises damaging the environment.

The survey showed that public awareness of environmental protection required to be improved, Wang said. But it was good to see "more and more people knowing how to defend their rights through proper means." 

The SEPA received 600,000 complaints on environmental issues last year. This is an increase of 30 percent over 2005.

Wang said that a good sign was that 61 percent of the respondents were convinced that both central and local governments were "attaching huge importance" to environmental protection and 70 percent voted for the tough measures SEPA had taken to curb pollution.

The SEPA exposed 82 projects that seriously violated state environmental appraisal norms last month. The projects with a cumulative investment of 112.3 billion yuan (US$14 billion) were in 12 sectors including steel, power and chemical plants in 22 provinces and regions.

It also stopped environment appraisal for all the projects in four cities and four of the country's major power groups.

(China Daily, China.org.cn January 16, 2007)

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