Waste treatment plans running behind schedule

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China is set to miss its target for the construction of household garbage treatment facilities this year, as less than 40 percent of its planned treatment capacity for garbage has been fulfilled so far.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has urged provincial governments to speed up the construction of the planned garbage treatment facilities.

The move is seen as a major effort by the central government to address the increasing garbage produced in cities due to the country's fast urbanization.

China's newly increased garbage treatment capacity is planned to reach 60,000 tons a day this year, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

However, the increased daily garbage treatment capacity reached only 23,582 tons by the end of September, which only accounts for about 39.3 percent of the target, the ministry said.

The ministry urged its local organs to ensure all the garbage treatment projects under construction be completed by the end of this year.

As of Sept 26, China's daily garbage treatment capacity had reached 399,702 tons, with 849 garbage treatment facilities in operation.

The facilities included 676 landfills, seven composting plants, 90 incineration plants and 76 integrated treatment plants, according to official statistics.

From January to September, China started construction on 67 new garbage treatment facilities, which are 61 landfills, two incineration plants and four integrated treatment plants, the ministry said.

A total of 155 facilities, including 120 sanitary landfills and 10 incineration plants, have not been constructed as scheduled, it said.

The ministry criticized some provinces, including Shanxi, Gansu and Jiangxi, for failing to complete any garbage treatment project so far this year.

The ministry will supervise these provincial governments to take effective measures to meet the construction goals, the statement said.

Garbage in China is expected to increase from 190 million tons in 2004 to 480 million tons in 2030, according to a 2005 World Bank report.

"But public concerns over health and environmental issues may hinder the construction of waste treatment facilities in some regions," said Zhang Boju, head of the research and investigation department of Friends of Nature, a non-governmental environmental protection organization in China.

"The government is now relying on building more garbage treatment facilities to deal with growing garbage, but reducing garbage at the very beginning should be the essential way out," he told China Daily.

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