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Greater Efforts to Be Put Into the Environment

Provinces and cities in east China are urged to put greater efforts into environmental protection and preserving natural resources, a top legislator said recently.

“Cities and towns in east China are threatened by pollution and resource shortages due to social and economic development, so they should develop in a sustainable way,” said Zou Jiahua, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, during a meeting on environmental protection held in Shanghai.

The six provinces and one municipality of east China are the most developed and populous areas in the country, which accounts for over 13 percent of the country’s total area and has a population of 510 million.

In the last decade, these areas have achieved rapid economic development, but they are now facing more serious environmental problems than the rest part of the country.

Statistics show that pollutants have been slightly reduced around the country in recent years, but the total amount is still very heavy, especially in east China. The pollutants produced in east China account for over 40 percent of the country’s total.

The six most polluted rivers and lakes are located in or running through east China. The industrial waste water discharged in east China accounted for 52 percent of the national amount in 1999.

East China also produced over 40 percent of both the country’s household garbage and industrial garbage.

To date, Zhejiang, Jangsu provinces and Shanghai Municipality, have spent 12 billion yuan (US$1.45 billion) in the rehabilitation of Taihu Lake. But more efforts should be taken to improve the ecosystem, Zou said.

Limited natural resources is another problem in east China. Experts say that cities should explore the recycling of waste and environmentally friendly garbage treatment, which not only saves resources but also reduces pollution.

Zou stressed that the environmental protection and pollutant treatment should be backed by strong laws.

Recently, China has approved six national laws on environmental protection and another 10 laws to protect natural resources. Legislators said three laws covering environmental monitoring and clean production are expected to be mapped out in the near future. As one of the most populated cities, Shanghai is paying close attention to environmental protection.

In 2000, the city’s expenditures for environmental protection was up to 14.2 billion yuan (US$1.71 billion), according to Han Zheng, deputy mayor of Shanghai.

(China Daily 05/26/2001)

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