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China to Recycle Landfill Gas to Reduce Greenhouse Effect
China will promote the recycling of gas emitted from untreated waste landfills in the coming decades part of its efforts to substantially reduce the emission of greenhouse gas.

On Wednesday, China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) announced the establishment of new facilities to recycle gas emitted from landfills into electric power and clean fuel. According to the national action plan, the new recycling system will eventually be implemented nationwide, based on several pilot projects in large cities over the next five years.

According to the SEPA, China produces about 140 million tons of garbage annually, of which 90 percent is dumped, untreated, into landfills.

The untreated waste has not only generated serious air and water pollution, but has also emitted what experts term "landfill gas," consisting principally of methane, an important greenhouse gas.

SEPA sources note that the potential greenhouse effect of the equivalent amount of methane is 21 times that of carbon dioxide.

The Chinese government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, vowing to shoulder its responsibility as a developing country.

The SEPA has helped three cities to establish and operate facilities for landfill gas recovery and recycling with technological and financial support from United Nations agencies.

Implementation of the new system remains difficult for most cities due to the shortage of funds for the establishment and operation of advanced facilities because in China, disposal of the refuse is funded by the government, with no private sector support.

To address this problem, the national action plan contains a proposal for the introduction of a fee-charging system for the garbage disposal sector in order to attract private investors.

The plan also suggests that preferential policies with regard to prices, taxes and tariff exemptions could be implemented as incentives to encourage more businesses to participate in the new recycling effort.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2002)

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