Inadequate pollution control facilities, rapid urbanization and
rising energy consumption have been blamed for an alarming rise in
China's key pollution indices in the first half of this year
despite the government's environmental targets and control
The chemical oxygen demand (COD) and sulfur dioxide (SO2)
indices both increased during the first six months compared with
last year, according to an official report released on Tuesday.
From January to June, the COD, used to estimate the amount of
organic matter in wastewater, rose 3.7 percent over the same period
of 2005, totaling 6.9 million tons.
SO2 discharge reached 12.75 million tons, up 4.2 percent.
The increase was caused by rising consumption of energy,
speeding urbanization and increasing discharge of wastewater,
according to the report.
The low-use rate of desulfurizing facilities in new thermal
power generators, inadequate or lack of pollution control
facilities in industrial projects, and the delayed operation of
sewage treatment plants in some cities were also blamed for the
Only half of the new thermal power plants put into use in the
first half, generating a total 32 million kilowatts of energy, were
equipped with desulfurizing facilities.
About 40 percent of the total COD discharge was from the
industries such as paper manufacturing, chemicals and textiles, all
of which are still growing rapidly, the report said.
"The task of reducing discharges of key pollutants is very
arduous," said the report, noting that local governments and
central departments must raise the awareness of the responsibility
and urgency of environmental protection.
The report was released by the State Environmental Protection
Administration, the National Bureau of Statistics, and the State
Development and Reform Commission.
China has set a goal in its 11th Five-Year Plan, which aims for energy
consumption per unit of domestic gross product (GDP) to drop by 20
percent, and a reduction in SO2 and COD discharge of 10 percent by
However, major indices show the environment is still
deteriorating due to the negligence of local officials who target
only fast economic growth, a situation that has drawn criticism
The world's biggest SO2 polluter, China discharged 25.49 million
tons of SO2 last year, 27 percent more than in 2000.
Rising SO2 discharge has resulted in acid rain over a third of
the Chinese mainland, according to a report released by the
(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2006)