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SEPA Vows to Cut Pollution
The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), the country's top environmental authority, has vowed to further reduce discharge of major pollutants by 10 percent within the next three years.

The pollutants include sulfur dioxide and automobile exhaust.

To achieve the ambitious goal, the central government will give local communities certain environmental responsibilities.

Apart from financial support from the central government, local governments are urged to include their environmental expenses in their annual budgets to ensure that the country's environmental policies are carried out smoothly, the administration said.

Pollution-control efforts also will be backed by legal force, the administration said.

Local environmental monitoring stations and bureaus are ordered to report their environmental statistics honestly.

SEPA Minister Xie Zhenhua said on Thursday that local communities should overcome their regionalism and report the truth to the central government.

Local environmental bureaus that report fake statistics will be severely punished, Xie said.

Xie also urged local governments to speed up the automation process of the environmental monitoring systems to timely work out more scientific environmental figures.

The central government will offer financial and technical support for the process, Xie said.

More State-level environmental laws conforming to international standards and treaties signed by the Chinese Government are expected to be passed by the National People's Congress over the next few years, SEPA officials said.

They also emphasized the importance of ecological protection and pollution control in China's Three Gorges Project, the world's largest hydropower project, and in cross-region water conservation, a massive plan to divert water from southern China to northern China

(China Daily January 25, 2002)

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