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New five-year plan to help combat pollution unveiled
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The State Council has approved in principle a five-year environmental protection plan for tackling pollution.

The plan, approved during an executive meeting presided by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday, mainly focuses on "pollution control and prevention" in order to achieve the environmental protection targets set by the government last year.

The government set goals in its 11th Five-Year Plan to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and major pollutant discharges by 10 percent ending in 2010.

"China is suffering from increasing conflicts between economic and social development and constraints in resources and energy," the State Council said in a circular.

The plan includes:

(1) Accelerating economic restructuring to create an industrial system that will aid resource conservation and environmental protection, along with the control of inappropriate development activities.

"Techniques, facilities and backward production measures that lead to too much waste of resources and serious pollution must be eliminated," the circular said.

(2) Improving supervision, management and law enforcement of pollution.

(3) Advancing environmental science and technology through innovation to improve environmental protection capability.

(4) Enhancing cooperation between government departments and local governments to better resolve trans-regional environmental problems.

(5) Reinforcing environment education to enhance the public's awareness of protecting the eco-system.

"A mechanism should be established to encourage government, enterprises, and non-government forces to invest in pollution control projects," the circular said.

China's environment watchdog said at the beginning of this year that the country failed to reach its pollution control goals last year as the economy grew faster than expected.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2007)

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