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Raising Regional Water Quality
The Guangdong Provincial Environment Protection Bureau and provincial-level organizations will start using a new method to try and speed up the improvement of water quality in the southern province.

"From this week onwards, the monthly water quality report should be replaced by a weekly report," a bureau source said at the weekend.

The increased frequency of reporting will benefit residents and provide a supervisory role, according to an environmental protection expert at Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University.

In November, the bureau started releasing monthly reports to the environment department and some high ranking officials, ignoring the public.

However, the weekly reports will be made public, keeping people up to date on water improvement projects and increasing their awareness of environmental protection.

They will also spur administrative departments at all levels to implement anti-pollution rules and create closer environmental ties with the regions that share the waterways, the source said.

Regions at the upper reaches of rivers tend to cause problems for areas further along the rivers.

Take the Pearl River as an example, which roughly runs through northwest Guangzhou to the southeast, from mountainous regions to plains.

Lagging far behind the Pearl River delta region, the cities in the upper reaches and mountainous regions try every means to catch up with the economic development of the wealthy Pearl River Delta area in the lower reaches of the river, including introducing some projects that are extremely harmful to the river.

In addition, enterprises along the lower reaches sometimes transfer projects that create heavy pollution to the poorer upper reaches to avoid punishment and make more money, due to the relatively loose administration and cheaper labor and land costs.

The weekly report will look at sewage discharge along the upper reach regions, in addition to other pollution.

According to the bureau, daily reporting of air quality in all of the 21 cities in Guangdong is expected by the end of the year and a daily air quality forecast will be available by the beginning of 2004.

Five river sections in the province did not meet the bureau's quality standards in April - the Foshan section, Guangzhou's Pearl River section, Tanjiang, Shenzhen River and Hanjiang Meizhou section.

(China Daily May 12, 2003)

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