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Environment Input Hits Record High in Shanghai

Shanghai, the leading industrial and business center in China, put a huge amount of resources into projects to improve its environment last year.

A spokesman for local environmental protection bureau said Thursday that the total sum of investment for environmental protection in 2001 exceeded 12 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion), an all time high.

The sum accounted for a little more than 3 percent of Shanghai's gross domestic product, a ratio considered high for an area in a developing country, said the spokesman.

The increased investment has helped the city, which used to be called Oriental Paris, curb air and water pollution.

The quality of air in the city was good during 310 days out of the past year, compared with 288 days in 2000.

Shanghai has cut consumption of coal for energy and relocated thousands of factories during the past decade, replacing hundreds of thousands of coal stoves with natural gas-fired cooking equipment.

Water quality of the Suzhou River running through the city has also improved considerably, thanks to the sewage treatment projects to handle the domestic and industrial waste.

The city added 12 million square meters of lawns last year, increasing the per capita public green coverage in the city proper to 5.5 square meters from 4.6 square meters in 2000.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2002)

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