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China's stimulus spending won't endanger environment
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Wang Zhenfeng felt aggrieved when he was told about overseas media reports claiming that several new cement plants were under construction in his town, Sanhe, a medium-sized city not far from Beijing.

In April, the New York Times reported that new cement plants were being built in Duanjialing, a small town under the jurisdiction of Sanhe, which it said indicated that China had "at least temporarily backpedaled on some environmental restraints imposed" to revive its industrial production.

A picture accompanied the story, with a caption saying that it showed a "worker loading bags" at "one of the new cement plants."

As vice director of the city's environmental protection bureau, Wang said the picture puzzled him.

"No new cement plants are under construction in Sanhe at all. Actually, we have been shutting down cement factories," he told Xinhua last week.

"There is no such new plant, either in Duanjialing or the city proper of Sanhe," he stressed.

The government of Sanhe plans a permanent shutdown of 19 of the city's 20 cement production lines by the end of 2010. Those plants used traditional and more polluting shaft kilns, Wang said. The only cement factory that will remain open uses rotary kilns, which cause less pollution.

Of the 19 shaft kiln plants, nine were forced to close last year, he said. "The picture might show a plant that had not been shut down" yet, Wang said.

According to Wang, after the plants are all closed, sulphur dioxide emissions will be cut by 1,100 tonnes per year.

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