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China Moves to Fight Pollutants

China will step up efforts to combat dangerous pollutants, the State Environment Protection Administration promised on Friday.  

As a member of the Stockholm Convention, said Zhu Guangyao, vice minister with the administration, China will fight persistent organic pollutants (POPs) -- barely degradable and highly mobile particles, such as DDT, toxaphene, chlordane and heptachlor.


POPs have a persistent impact on the environment and people's health, experts said.


While the fight against POPs will last several years, the country launched two demonstration projects on Friday.


Both provide new methods to fight termites that do not include the dangerous chlordane and mirex chemicals.


The fight against POPs is motivated by their dangerous nature.


Chronic exposure to even a low volume of POPs may cause cancer, damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, disruption of the immune system and reproductive disorders.


"Efforts in reducing POPs impact on human health and environment require long-term investment," Teresa Serra, a representative of the World Bank, said on Friday in Beijing.


"China demonstrates considerable commitment to the issue, having started a number of activities in cooperation with various donors and international organizations," Serra said.


Sponsored by Global Environment Facilities, the World Bank and governments of Italy and Canada, a US$11 million program to help China implement the convention was launched in May 2003.


The program includes a strategy to reduce and eventually phase out the use of pesticidal POPs, studying termite control and POPs' impact on women and children, and training for Chinese specialists.


China joined the Stockholm Convention in May 2001 and promised to reduce and phase out POPs in several years.


(China Daily February 14, 2004)

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