China's top environmental authority is preparing to step up the
pressure on polluters by raising the threshold of the nation's
The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) will
draw up and update nearly 1,400 environmental protection criteria
during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period, covering areas
such as pollution, high-energy consumption industries and
The number is four times as high as the 320 updates over the
past five years.
"Environmental protection serves as technological reference for
environment supervisors and law enforcers, and a ruler for
enterprises to measure their pollution treatment. The amendment
will have a great impact on China's environment," Wang Mingliang,
an official from the department of science and technology at SEPA,
told Xinhua News Agency.
SEPA will hold a national conference on science and technology
over the next two days, and discussion of the new standards is on
Among the near-1,400 criteria, seven will be related to
environmental quality, 121 will concern pollution control and 1,122
will pinpoint environmental requirements of different sectors.
New standards are expected governing circular economy,
environmentally friendly industry, emissions monitoring, nuclear
and electromagnetic radiation and measures for dealing with
"The latest scientific and technological developments at home
and abroad will support the amendment," Wang said. "Some advanced
standards in developed countries will also be introduced, such as
the European standard for auto exhausts."
"With the progress of China's economic and scientific
development, the gap in environmental protection standards between
China and foreign countries will gradually be bridged."
In the past five years, China has completed a series of
important environmental standards, including standards for air
pollution by coal-fire power plants and the cement industry, water
pollution by medical institutions, combustion of dangerous waste
and auto pollution.
Currently China has more than 880 environmental protection
items, but according to Wang a lack of funds is hindering SEPA's
"There aren't sufficient funds to carry on the amendment work,"
Wang told Xinhua.
"Although the Ministry of Finance increased its grant from the
previous 4 million yuan (US$500,000) to 14 million yuan (US$1.75
million) in 2005, the same amount is still needed."
(China Daily August 18, 2006)