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China to Inspect Environmental Protection Law Efforts
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The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature, has ordered inspections of the implementation of three environmental protection laws on solid wastes, water and air pollution after hearing how pollution is increasingly affecting sustainable development.


Inspection teams will survey progress in Beijing and the provinces of Shanxi, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi, while ten other provincial people's congresses are asked to examine local law enforcement in May and June.


They will focus on water source protection in urban and rural regions, urban waste water disposal, water pollution prevention and treatment of rivers near chemical or paper plants, disposal of solid -- particularly dangerous -- wastes, prevention and control of air pollution caused by thermal power generation, metallurgy, cement and chemical industries as well as motor vehicles.


Statistics from the State Environmental Protection Administration show water pollution is still a serious problem. Nearly one third of the 744 river sections under state monitoring are badly polluted and all river sections in cities are contaminated.


In addition, one fifth of cities have serious air pollution and 150 million mu (10 million hectares) of arable land are affected by industrial wastes.


At Monday's first plenary session on inspection of environmental protection laws, Wang Zhaoguo, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said the campaign was intended to enhance local government environmental awareness, to encourage bigger environmental budgets, improve environmental monitoring and law enforcement.


Sheng Huaren, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee who heads the campaign, said inspectors would also examine how the Standing Committee's past suggestions on environmental protection were implemented.


(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2006)

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