One of China's leading paper makers has released a groundbreaking environmental report that clearly shows how a major polluter such as the paper industry can protect the environment and still make a profit.
Sina Mars Group-APP China, the country's largest paper-making enterprise, published an environmental and resources report, a first for the industry, the People's Daily reported on January 23.
The report summarizes the experiences and achievements of the enterprise over the past 10 years, its usage of resources, the efforts it has made to protect the environment, and the current state of environmental protection in the paper industry.
The industry is one of the biggest polluters in China, the report conceded.
In 2004, the country's total volume of wastewater discharged was 22.11 billion tons, 14.4 percent of which came from the paper-making industry, second only to the chemical industry. Calculated on the basis of the COD (chemical oxygen demand) Index, the total discharge was 5.097 million tons and the paper industry ranked first with a share of 33 percent.
Although there are more than 3,000 paper-making enterprises in China, the pollution mainly comes from medium- and small-sized enterprises, the report said, pointing out that although large companies account for 40 percent of total output, they contribute less than 10 percent of the COD discharge volume.
For example, the annual output of the Shandong Chenming Group was 2.6 million tons in 2004, yet its COD discharge volume was only 15,000 tons, or 17 percent of the industry average. Output of Sina Mars Group-APP China exceeded 5 million tons, but its COD discharge volume of 5,200 tons was only 3 percent of the industry average.
According to the State Environmental Protection Administration's (SEPA) 2004 annual report, for China's 41 industries, the average COD discharge volume is 11.6 kilograms per 10,000 yuan of output. Yet, the figure for Jiangsu Gold East Paper, part of the APP group, was only 0.93kg/10,000 yuan, far below the levels of the textile, agricultural products, food, medicine and beverage producing industries.
Gold East Paper started operations in 1999 and is the largest single art printing paper producer in the world. Since its establishment, the enterprise has invested 900 million yuan in environmental protection facilities. In 2004, its wastewater discharge volume stood at only 7.86 cubic meters per ton of paper making, only 13 percent of the country's permitted standard (60 cubic meters), while the COD discharge volume only reached 7.5 percent of permissible levels. Processed wastewater is used for industrial fire fighting, dust control, forestation and irrigation, with an internal recycling usage rate of 95 percent. The enterprise has made a direct profit of more than 100 million yuan from such energy saving and recycling measures.
The report concluded that the paper industry can still realize a win-win situation in balancing profit with environmental protection if it manages resource utilization.
(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong, January 29, 2006)