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China emission cut not optimistic

To reduce China's polluting emissions was a daunting task and the immediate outlook was not good, said a senior environment official in Beijing Thursday.

Sulfur dioxide emissions had increased by 1.2 percent year on year in the first quarter, said Zhang Lijun, vice minister of environment, at a press conference.

"The situation is not good," he said.

Output of energy-consuming industrial products has increased quite fast this year, which is one of the reasons causing the increase, he said.

He also attributed the emissions increase to the severe drought in southwest China early this year, slow development of some projects to cut pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as weakening efforts of some local governments and enterprises.

The Ministry of Environment has introduced some measures to cope with the new problems, including releasing a blacklist of regions and enterprises not performing well in curbing polluting emissions, he said.

China has set a target to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions and chemical oxygen demand (COD), two main indicators of air and water pollution, by 10 percent from 2006 to 2010.

China's COD and sulfur dioxide emissions fell 9.66 percent and 13.14 percent last year compared to those in 2005, respectively.

The average sulfur dioxide concentration in the air over Chinese cities stood at 0.035 milligram per cubic meter last year, a reduction of 16.7 percent from 2005 and had not changed since 2008, Zhang said.