The economic losses caused by environmental pollution may account for about 10 percent of China's GDP (gross domestic product), said a Chinese official on Monday.
The figure is not very accurate due to great difficulties in carrying out related research and analysis, but it can give us a rough idea, said Zhu Guangyao, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), at a press conference when he released China's second white paper on environmental protection since 1996.
The white paper, titled "Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005)" and released by the Information Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, says that the situation of environmental protection in the country is still "grave".
The conflict between environment and development is becoming ever more prominent. A relative shortage of resources, a fragile ecological environment and insufficient environmental capacity are becoming critical problems hindering China's development, it says.
In the 11th Five-Year Program, China has clearly set forth its main goals for environmental protection for the next five years: by 2010, while the national economy will maintain a relatively stable and fast growth, the environmental quality of key regions and cities will be improved and ecological deterioration will be brought under control.
The 11th Five-Year Program requires the energy consumption per unit of GDP to decline by 20 percent, compared with the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan period. The total amount of major pollutants discharged will be reduced by ten percent, and forest coverage will be raised from 18.2 percent to 20 percent.
In China's future development, environmental protection will become a more and more important standard that the government will rely on to adjust its macrocontrol policies, Zhu said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2006)