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World Bank Assists with Toxic Pollutants
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The World Bank said on Monday it had given the go ahead for two schemes to assist China phase out three persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with US$32.7 million in grants from the Global Environment Fund.


The Chinese government has taken rapid action to eliminate key POPs which are scheduled to be completely eliminated worldwide due to their impact on human health and the environment, the bank said in a statement.


They said POPs were a major environmental concern as they were responsible for causing neurological damage, immune system disorders, cancer and a range of other health problems.


"POPs persist in the environment for many years, travel long distances and accumulate in the food chain causing harm not only where they are produced and used but globally," said the bank.


In the last six months the government has completed preparations for the first two projects to eliminate POPs and secured implementation GEF grants of US$32.7 million.


The first project, Polychlorinated Biphenyls PCBs Management and Disposal Demonstration Project, was approved by the World Bank board of executive directors in December last year as a pilot policy with institutional and disposal measures to eliminate PCBs in Zhejiang Province, east China.


PCBs are used in electrical equipment and cause widespread contamination of their storage sites. The project would demonstrate environmentally sound policies and cost-effective way of safely disposing of PCBs, the waste and decontaminating PCB sites, it said.


The total cost of the project would exceed US$35 million of which more than half is being funded by China and US$2.02 million will come from Japan, Italy and the United States.


The second project, the Demonstration of Alternatives to Chlordane and Mirex in Termite Control Project, was approved by the World Bank last week to eliminate use of two highly toxic pesticides.


As the first project of its kind by the World Bank it would help China phase out use of 15,000 kilograms of chlordane and mirex, close its largest manufacturing facility and adopt modern termite control methods. Helen Chan, the World Bank coordinator for the POPs program in the East Asia and Pacific Region said the projects broke new ground in testing institutional approaches and demonstrating technologies.


(Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2006)

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