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China to launch its first environment monitoring satellite
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China is to launch its first satellite to monitor the environment in the first half of next year, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said on Friday.

The satellite will be used to monitor the environment and report on natural disasters, said Wu Xiaoqing, the SEPA deputy director, at a press conference.

"Our capability to manage the environment and forecast natural disasters will improve considerably with the operation of the satellite," Wu said.

So far, China has set up more than 2,000 stations on the ground to monitor the air, rivers and lakes, and the overall ecosystem.

But the ground network still can not meet the demand of timely and dynamic monitoring on the fast-changing environment, Wu said.

Wu did not elaborate on the details of how the satellite will operate.

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2007)

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