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Food Security Tops Chinese Concern
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Eighty six percent of the surveyed have expressed concerns over the possible heath damage caused by environment pollution, with 39% describing the situation as serious, according to the Public Environment Protection Index for 2006, China's first ever index of the kind released on Sunday.

The index shows the food security tops the concerns of people. Many are becoming more cautious in eating foods for fear of harmful water and toxic chemicals used in the farming.

Civilians also voiced concerns over the safety of drinking water. According to the index, 81 percent said they had paid attention to the issue since reports of pollution in the country's main rivers started frequently appearing in the media. About 21.7 percent of the urban residents surveyed are unsatisfied with drinking water.

Air pollution is another topic attracting major attention, as 39.6 percent expressed discontent with air quality.

Chinese people's consciousness of environmental protection registered 57.05 points, from a potential of 100, while the figure reflecting people's satisfaction with the environmental efforts reached 60.2, the index unveiled.

The national index also revealed that 600,000 complaints regarding environmental pollution were received last year, 30% up on 2005. Some 23% of those surveyed promised they would report the pollution cases to the relevant government departments. However, 76% of those surveyed still didn't know the phone number "12369", of the National Environmental Hotline.

Under the guidance of the State Environmental Protection Administration, the China Environmental Culture Promotion Association took charge in compiling the index through interviews and telephone polls. Issues referring to fourteen aspects of the environment were included in the survey, ranging from food safety and water pollution to the greenhouse effect and soil desertification.

(CRI January 16, 2007)

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