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Draft recycling law abandons progression price markup system on water, electricity
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China's draft recycling law has abandoned a progression price markup system on household use of water, electricity and gas because of its impracticality.

The draft law, made to boost sustainable development through energy saving and reduction of pollutant discharges, was submitted Monday to the fourth session of the 11th Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, for the third reading.

It was likely to be approved at the session which is to end on Friday.

The progression price markup system has been a controversial issue. It was in the first draft but was deleted when the draft law went through the second reading in June.

After the second reading, some lawmakers, however, insisted the system should be included in the law, but it was eventually abandoned because investigations showed that it was too difficult to assess the cardinal level of the water and power consumption in each household.

The system also requires the government to rectify existing facilities to install differentiated meters in each household, which would consume a great deal of both money and time, the NPC's Law Committee said in a report.

The Chinese government issued a circular in 2002, urging all cities to implement a step pricing system on water of household use by the year end of 2005.

However, only around 80 cities of the country's 661 cities are using the pricing method, figures from the National Development and Reform Commission showed.

At present, no city implements the step pricing method on gas, and only three provinces including Yunnan, Zhejiang and Sichuan use the pricing method on electricity.

The draft, which was submitted for the first reading in August last year, stipulates governments at all levels should make plans on the development of recycling economy, establish systems to control energy use and pollutant emission, strengthen management on companies with high energy and water consumption, make policies to divert capitals into environmentally friendly industries.

The draft also introduces reward and punishment systems for companies, encouraging them to develop recycling economy and making them responsible for the recycling of their products.

China has been facing serious environmental and resources problems during the economic development since the 1980s, which were mainly caused by the low resources efficiency, according to the NPC Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee.

The average energy consumption per unit product for high-energy-consuming industries, such as steel, electric power and cement in China was 20 percent higher than the advanced international level.

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2008)

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