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China's Top Polluters Draw Criticism
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Six thousand of China's top industrial polluters will be more closely scrutinized by the country's top environmental watchdog.

The list, published on the website of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) on March 30, includes well-known companies and factories.

Some major names include Sinopec's Nanjing facility, a steel plant owned by Beijing Shougang Company and Meng Niu Dairy Company, one of the country's biggest milk producers based in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The list was derived from an investigation by SEPA of 80,000 companies in 2005.

Some 3,592 companies have been identified as the worst air polluters, responsible for 65 percent of the total sulphur dioxide and other industrial emissions that were spewed out by the enterprises.

Another 3,115 companies were found responsible for 65 percent of all industrial wastewater, which includes ammonia, nitrogen, and organic compounds.

Among the 6,066 polluters on the list, 641 produced dual contamination, SEPA said.

Many polluters are based in north China's Shanxi Province and Hebei Province.

In Shanxi, the biggest coal-producing province, more than 400 plants are being monitored for waste gas. And Hebei, a chemical industry stronghold, is home to more than 300 water-polluting plants.

"The list reflects the pollution situation in local areas," Fan Yuansheng, director of the Pollution Control Department of the SEPA, told Xinhua News Agency.

"Other programs, like allocating pollution emission credits or operating the national survey on pollution emission, will take the list for reference," Fan said.

SEPA requires all the companies on the list to install automatic monitoring and control systems that are directly connected to local environmental protection departments.

The administration also said that the departments must do site checks at least once a month and ensure the appropriate pollution discharge fees are paid.

The World Wildlife Fund For Nature's (WWF) communication consultant said the move was good but wondered if local environment bureaus will be as cooperative as SEPA expects, according to Xinhua.

"Local environmental bureaus are affiliated with local governments, which are often criticized for pursuing gross domestic product growth at the cost of environmental degradation," said Zhang Yifei, a consultant with WWF.

The companies on the list will be the first pushed to meet emission reduction goals. They will also get government funding to install advanced pollution control technologies and programs.

(China Daily April 6, 2007)

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