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Economic Growth Driving Up Pollution
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In the first half of the year pollutant emissions have gone up, the country's top environmental watchdog warned yesterday.


Discharges of COD (chemical oxygen demand) and SO2 (sulphur dioxide) increased by 4.2 percent and 5.8 percent respectively from the same period last year, said Zhou Shengxian, minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). He attributed the rises to rapid economic growth so far this year.

The data, released during a teleconference in Beijing, was based on the monitoring of 17 provinces and municipalities. Nationwide statistics will be published after further checks.


In the first half year investment in fixed assets developed so fast that pollution treatment supervisors were unable to keep pace, Zhou said.


Fixed asset investment expanded by nearly 30 percent reaching 4.2 trillion yuan (US$525 billion). Around 100,000 projects were launched including heavy polluters such as mining and auto manufacturing.


"What needs to be focused on is that some local industry operations seriously counter environmental requirements," Zhou said.


Ministry figures show that only 30-40 percent of new projects at county level have passed environmental impact assessment, according to Zhou.


Furthermore, construction of sulphur removal equipment lagged far behind development of high-energy consumption industries.


Of the coal-fired power plants with installed capacity of above 32 million kilowatts built in the past six months half had no sulphur removal equipment when they started operations, Zhou said. He didn't give exact figures.


SEPA published environmental standards for construction and management of eco-industrial parks last week. As China's first green standard in this field the move was expected to push the current development of industrial parks onto an environmentally friendly track. There are currently 18 such parks across the country.


Meanwhile the People's Daily yesterday reported that a new SEPA inspection will target environmental pollution treatment by industrial parks where factories are concentrated and the possibility of pollution incidents is high.


Raising the green threshold of industrial parks is a step by the country to slow down fixed asset investment, the report said.


(China Daily August 15, 2006)

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