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Govt spotlights rural environment protection
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The State Council has made improved water quality and pesticide pollution prevention the main focus of its environmental protection efforts in the country's vast rural areas over the next two years.

Officials from the industry and commerce administration dispose of bags of bogus fertilizer in Tancheng, Shandong province. Fang Dehua

At its first national meeting on rural environmental protection on Thursday, the State Council set the target of a 10 percent rise in the treatment of sewage and consumer waste by 2010, and set a similar goal for the livestock and poultry waste utilization rate.

Achieving these targets will be an important step towards meeting the State Council's goal of "greatly improving" the rural environment by 2015.

Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told the meeting that rural environmental protection is important as it is an issue of vital interest to rural residents, and is also important in terms of the country's sustainable development.

"It is a systematic project and needs to be implemented sequentially," Li stressed, noting the authorities' recent focus on water safety in rural areas and building more sewage treatment facilities.

He said the government should make greater efforts to tackle environmental problems that threaten public health and food safety.

China should balance its economic development with environmental protection in rural areas, he concluded.

The government should ensure good environmental conditions for a well-off society in the country, Li said.

In a related development, the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday announced it had recovered 23.97 million kg of bogus and substandard agriculture material so far this year.

As many as 111,500 bogus and substandard agricultural implements, worth around 200 million yuan ($29.3 million), had been impounded in the first half of the year, Zhang Yuxiang, the ministry's chief economist, told a press conference in Beijing on Friday.

(China Daily July 26, 2008)

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