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Public weighs in on environmental success - report
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Residents of Shanxi Province's Datong and of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region's Hezhou are least satisfied with local environmental protection efforts, a report from the country's environmental watchdog said Thursday.

More than 90 percent of residents in Shandong Province's cities of Linyi, Dongyin, Rizhao and Yantai, and Heilongjiang Province's Daqing and Heihe cities believed local governments are doing a good job of improving the environment.

It was the first time for the public satisfaction survey to be included in the Ministry of Environment Protection's (MEP)'s annual report assessing Chinese cities' environmental management.

"After all, improving people's life quality is the ultimate goal of environmental protection," a senior MEP official told China Daily Thursday.

The 2007 report assessed a total of 617 cities - more than 90 percent of the country's total - up from 585 cities the previous year.

The report said increased investments in environmentally friendly facilities have reaped results.

It found that 51.9 percent of urban sewage was handled properly in the surveyed cities, compared to 42.5 percent in 2006.

In addition, 67.6 percent of household garbage was treated, up 8.1 percent from the previous year.

The medical waste treatment ratio also increased by 4.31 percent.

Treatment ratios in the 113 cities identified as key environmental protection cities in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan for urban sewage, household garbage and medical waste reached 64 percent, 82 percent and 84 percent, respectively.

However, these results still fell short of goals included in the plan, which dictated that at least 70 percent of sewage and 60 percent household garbage should be effectively treated in the cities by 2010.

Six cities, most of which are in the country's western region, were criticized for poor air quality. Another six were blacklisted for substandard water quality.

The report also listed 32 cities that failed to complete a public satisfaction survey.

It called on cities to further improve their sewage-handling and recycling capabilities, and develop effective ways to treat sludge and hazardous liquids produced by sewage and garbage disposal plants.

(China Daily October 10, 2008)

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