Programme to Protect Environment

The Chinese Government has given environmental protection high status as officials draft the nation's long-term development programme, Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing.

China has made significant gains in environmental protection, with largely expanding investment and speedy development in treating pollution during the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000), Wen said.

He made the remarks at the opening session of the three-day Third Meeting of the Second Phase of the China Council for International Co-operation and Development (CCICED). The group is a high-level advisory body to the Chinese Government on the co-ordination of the environment and industrial development.

About 100 environmental and economic experts from home and abroad discussed the co-ordination of economic development and environmental protection in the coming century and will give recommendations on the formulation of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-2005).

The Chinese Government has implemented active financial policies and invested a large amount of money in controlling pollution and eco-construction, according to Wen.

More than 72 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) was injected into pollution treatment in 1998, up 43 per cent from the same period of 1997.

Actions to treat some serious pollution sources, including the Huaihe River, Taihu and Dianchi lakes, have helped in improving water quality.
Some 65 percent of industrial waste water discharge and 66 percent of industrial gas emissions have met state-set standards around the country, said the vice-premier.

China will continue to carry out its water conservation plans, soil erosion treatment, desertification prevention and eco-agriculture construction, Wen said.

Jilia Marton-Lefevre, executive director of an international environmental group and a member of CCICED, said it is rare in developed countries for a government to place environmental protection at such a high level.

(China Daily10/20/1999)
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