All Chinese people living in cities are to pay for the disposal of domestic waste, said an official of the Ministry of Construction Tuesday.
China's central government departments such as the State Development Planning Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Construction have jointly issued a notice to begin charging in every city.
All government departments, enterprises, individual business people, social societies and municipal inhabitants are required to pay for the management of domestic waste in cities, and the specific prices will be decided by the local municipal governments through price hearings, said the notice.
But those on low incomes such as laid-off workers and the unemployed will receive a reduction or exemption, said the notice.
Last year, the domestic waste produced in China's 670 cities reached 135 million tons, 300 kg for every municipal resident, however only 20 percent was safely disposed of.
"China currently is confronted with a lack of capital for improving waste management," said Zhangyue, vice-director of the department of urban development of the Ministry of Construction, noting that the charge will speed up China's commercial process ofwaste management by expanding investment channels and inviting more enterprises into waste management work.
An environmental sanitation expert estimated that if each municipal dweller is charged 24 yuan, the Chinese government would receive 11 billion yuan from waste charges each year, topping the 8.4 billion yuan the Chinese government invested in waste treatment in 2000.
"Who pollutes, pays," said the expert, adding that by adopting a compensative service in the waste management, China could afford proper waste treatment.
Statistics show that China plans to input 63.5 billion yuan in improving its waste treatment equipment before 2010, and try to lift the safe treatment rate to 80 percent.
(People's Daily June 26, 2002)