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Guangdong pollutant indicators drop in 2007
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China's southern Guangdong Province saw its major air and water pollutant indicators drop in 2007, yet the environmental situation remained "severe", the Guangdong Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau (GDEPB) said Tuesday.

Chen Guangrong, deputy head of the GDEPB, said the province's sulphur dioxide emissions fell by 5.05 percent and chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of water pollution, went down 3.02 percent year-on-year. However, the COD failed to meet the provincial government's target.

By the end of last year, the province had established 127 sewage treatment plants, which could treat 8.74 million tons of waste water every day, the highest capacity in the country. However, only 50 percent of the waste water was properly treated in 2007 because it could not cope with the total amount, he said.

In addition, two thirds of the cities in the province were affected by acid rain, and nine of which, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, were severely affected.

Pollution reduction remained a central task this year. The local government pledged to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by another 4 percent and COD by 3.5 percent in 2008.

The central government has pledged to cut key pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.

Chen also called for more investment to curb pollution. Last year, only 0.14 percent of the total fiscal revenue, or 400 million yuan (US$56.7 million) was put into environmental protection.

(Xinhua News Agency March 26, 2008)

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