The first national survey of pollution sources is to start in
February, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA)
said on Friday.
The survey will identify sources of industrial, agricultural and
residential pollution and also calculate the number of
environmental remediation facilities in operation, said Zhou
Shengxian, the SEPA director, during a meeting held by the State
It will take about two months to collect the data and each piece
of information will be reviewed four times before being entered
into the database, he said.
To maintain quality, random data samples will be checked again,
The headquarters of the census has been established, comprised
of officials from the SEPA and the Ministry of Agriculture, which
manages agricultural pollution.
Every province, autonomous region and municipality has also set
up an office to take charge of the census.
"The result of the census will not be linked to any punishment
or evaluation of the performance of local administrations," Zhou
said. Any administration, company or institution should not fear
repercussions but should instead guarantee true, credible results,
The country has been preparing for the census for more than a
year. The central government allocated 737 million yuan (100
million U.S. dollars) to preparations in 2007.
The government is taking numerous measures to reduce pollution,
but experts have complained about a lack of trustworthy statistics
on the sources and extent of pollution and the number of
These complaints led to the decision by the State Council in
October 2006 to conduct the census.
"Collecting data of various pollution sources will be an
important basis for environmental protection, a crucial gist for
optimizing economic structure and an important step toward an
environment-friendly society," said Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan at the
Meanwhile, environment statistics, monitoring and assessment
systems should be improved, Zeng stressed, adding that findings of
the pollution sources survey should be developed and applied.
Data collection will be completed in the first half of the year,
and the data collected will be analyzed in the second half. In the
first half of 2009, the survey findings will be examined and
China faces the challenge of environmental deterioration amid
its rapid economic development. According to the SEPA, sulfur
dioxide emissions in 2005 were 27.8 percent higher than in 2000.
During that same period, chemical oxygen demand (COD), a major
index of water pollution, fell only 2.1 percent.
Water pollution has been worsening as well: 26 percent of
surface water is totally unusable, 62 percent is unsuitable for
fish and 90 percent of the rivers running through cities are
But, due to the persistent efforts, China managed to reduce the
emission of main pollutants, sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen
demand (COD) in the first nine months of 2007.
The energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP)
also dropped three percent year-on-year in the first three quarters
of last year.
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2008)