China plans to significantly increase charges on the release of
pollutants and effluents, said Bi Jingquan, vice-minister of the
National Development and Reform Commission.
The move is to push companies to more actively clean up the
environment by imposing greater share of the financial burden, Bi
The discharge cost for sewerage will be at least double the
current level of 0.67 yuan per ton, while the charge on sulfur
dioxide emissions may also be doubled from the current 0.63 yuan
per ton, Bi told a forum held by the new China Center for Public
Finance, at Peking University.
"There is a desperate need for the country to instill the
principle that those creating pollution must pay the costs," he
In its development plan for the 2006-10 period, China said it
would cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by
20 percent, or 4 percent each year. It would also cut the release
of major pollutants by 10 percent during that period.
However, energy consumption fell by just 1.23 percent last
"In the first half of this year, we have not met the set goal
(for energy consumption)," Bi said. "The release of major
pollutants has also not significantly declined."
The State Council, China's cabinet, set up a special task force
this month to press on with the country's campaign to cut energy
consumption and pollutant release.
It has launched a series of energy-saving measures, including a
strict control of the indoor temperature of public buildings and
restrictions on decorative lighting for large buildings.
The Ministry of Construction said China has built 1.06 billion
square meters of energy-efficient buildings, but they account for
only 7 percent of the total floor space of all the existing
buildings in China's urban areas.
Due to structural economic defects, many of China's industries
have been heavy polluters. To improve that scenario, China has
promised to build a society that is environmentally friendly and
efficient in saving energy.
Bi warned that the situation remains severe.
China's major rivers and one-third of its soil have been hit by
acid rain. Waste treatment is also not effective, Bi said.
China's waste treatment would cost much more if it were burned,
which will require more financial input from the firms, the
He revealed that the new discharge fees may be combined with
utility bills - companies that do not pay the fees will not be
allowed to use electricity and water supply, for example. He did
not disclose when the new rules might take effect.
Bi suggested that the current environmental clean-up regime
should be reformed by introducing more market mechanisms.
In some places, newly established waste burning facilities
cannot find adequate waste for treatment, because the local
environmental protection department encourages the waste to be
transported to landfills that belong to the government.
Bi also called for a strengthened collection of fees, which is
rather loose at present.
(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2007)