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Fisheries Plagued by Pollution
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There were 1,463 pollution accidents in fishery areas last year, affecting a total area of 94,000 hectares and resulting the direct economic losses of 243 million yuan (US$31.8 million), a report published by the Ministry of Agriculture and State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said yesterday.

Pollution also cost the country 36.4 million yuan worth of lost natural fishery resources, it said. The data were based on inspections of more than 96 major fisheries.

Blue-green algae afflicting Taihu Lake in Jiangsu Province

In a related matter, the SEPA will launch a full-scale ecological evaluation of all lakes and reservoirs this month and draw up comprehensive treatment measures for each, said Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the SEPA.

Tough measures have already been put in place in Jiangsu Province 's Taihu Lake, the country's third largest, which has been struggling with an algae bloom that cut off water supplies to around 2 million people.

"Restrictions on pollutants near the lake will be on par with those in developed countries in the future," Zhang said yesterday in an online interview with www.gov.cn.

"Industrial projects involving nitrogen and phosphorous discharges will be totally suspended in the area."

He also said the government's timely response to the algae bloom at Chaohu Lake meant that water supplies would not be affected. The algae appeared last Thursday.

Blue-green algae afflicting Chaohu Lake in Anhui Province

Under a five-year plan that will conclude in 2010, China expects to save more energy while reducing discharges of major pollutants by 10 percent.

Annual discharges of sulfur dioxide are to be reduced from the 25.5 million tons released in 2005 to 23 million tons by 2010.

The chemical oxygen demand (COD) is to be cut from the 14.1 million tons in 2005 to 12.7 million tons in 2010.

As for efforts to prevent and control pollution in lakes, restrictions on discharges containing nitrogen and phosphor are considered priorities alongside the COD and sulfur dioxide.

"Local governments in areas with lakes are required to establish targets for those pollutants according to local conditions," Zhang added.

The country will also dedicate resources in the coming four years to treat pollution in major rivers, lakes, reservoirs, the Bohai Sea and the Songhua River, Zhang said.

In another development, Zhang also said yesterday that the SEPA had agreed to hear the environmental impact assessment of the Shanghai maglev train project.

Though approved by the National Development and Reform Commission last March, the project has been on hold since residents, scholars and various organizations expressed doubt about the project.

(China Daily June 14, 2007)

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