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Input on environmental protection hits record high
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China's input on environmental protection has hit record high, exceeding 250 billion yuan, or about US$35 billion last year, According to the annual report issued by the environment watchdog last week.

China's input on environmental protection has hit record high, exceeding 250 billion yuan, or about US$35 billion last year.

According to the annual report issued by the environment watchdog last week, despite this growing input, problems still remain.

The report, issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration, says that China has put in 256 billion yuan on protecting environment in 2006, an increase of 7.5 percent from the previous year.

Li Yan, campaigner for Green Peace China, says the increase is encouraging and it is a signal for more enterprises to join environmental protection.

"Environmental issues are getting more attention from the government. There are also massive business opportunities. In order to tackle environmental problems, the government should also realize the potential of using the market and financial mechanism."

Li Yan says China is growing into a big producer of climate-friendly products, such as energy-efficient light bulbs.

In addition, the country has launched a national campaign earlier this month, calling people to save energy and cut emission in their daily lives. The campaign covers nearly all groups of people, including those in residential communities, schools, enterprises, governments and so on.

But the environment watchdog says the huge progress in both financial input and public awareness won't eliminate all the problems. For examples, there are more than 400 water pollution cases last year, accounting for about half of all pollution cases.

Experts say the reason lies in the sources that are polluting rivers constantly, such as chemical factories. Furthermore, sewage treatment plants may not have strict administration, which posed difficulties in protecting rivers.

Song Guojun, professor in environment and natural resources with Renmin University, gave some advices in tackling the problem.

"It is good for us to have risk management on big pollution sources, which will be used as a supportive measure to the emergency plans. If risk management is launched, no matter the problem is frequent or seldom, we can have more control over them and stop them from happening again."

The professor also warns that small-sized pollution sources, such as those in rural areas, deserve as much attention as the factories in big cities. Inspection on both urban and rural areas can be done at the same time to reduce damage to the lowest level possible.

Meanwhile, some projects that have been put into practice years ago have shown fruitful results.

For example, China began the trail work for biological zones in 1996. Till the end of last year, there are more than 500 such zones across the country, contributing as models to environmental protection, especially in proper development of natural resources and improvement of the ecology.

(CRI September 30, 2007)

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