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1st environmental protection meeting for rural areas
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China's State Council is targeting improved water quality and pesticide pollution prevention as its main focus for environmental protection in rural areas as of 2010.

This was stated at the State Council's first national environmental protection meeting for rural areas held in Beijing on Thursday.

It declared that up to a 10 percent rate rise should be achieved in the treatments of sewage and consumer waste, as well as in the livestock and poultry waste utilization rate.

The plan also called for the living environment of rural citizen and ecological conditions to be greatly improved by 2015.

Vice Premier Li Keqiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was present at the meeting.

He stressed environmental protection in rural areas was of great concern and of vital interest to rural citizens. It was also needed for the country's sustainable development.

As the society and economy developed, people in rural areas had a higher expectation for the quality of their living environment. The government should ensure a good environmental condition for a well-off society in the country.

Li emphasized the government should make great efforts in solving environmental problems that damage health and threaten food safety.

He said that the focus of the latest protection work was to ensure water safety in rural areas and further promote the building of sewage treatment facilities.

China should balance its economic development with environmental protection in rural areas and endeavour to achieve a win-win situation for the two sides, he concluded.

(Xinhua News Agency July 25, 2008)

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