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China vows to make greater environmental protection efforts

06-05-2012 23:36 BJT

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- China will make more efforts to cut oxynitride emissions and improve the quality of surface water, an official with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said at a Tuesday press conference.

"China will make new policies and carry out projects to solve environmental problems, such as heavy metal pollution and the growing discharge of pollutants in rural areas," Wu Xiaoqing, vice minister of environmental protection, said Tuesday.

He said China will draft a law concerning environmental protection taxes as a form of economic encouragement for polluting companies, adding that the Ministry of Finance, the MPE and the State Administration of Taxation are working together on the draft.

"China will apply the environmental protection tax to companies that are in need of pollution control," Wu said, adding that enterprises will have to bear costs that directly correspond to how much they pollute.

A report on China's environment for 2011 was also issued Tuesday. The report said a total of 24.04 million tonnes of oxynitride were emitted in China last year, up 5.73 percent year on year.

"Faced with a large amount of emissions, we have great pressure to achieve our goal of reducing waste gases," Wu said.

The report, jointly issued by the MEP, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Land and Resources, said 22.2 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide were emitted last year as well.

A total of 65.2 billion tonnes of liquid waste were discharged in China, including 2.6 million tonnes of ammonia, according to the report.

Wu said the amount of oxynitride emissions in 2011 indicates that the government failed to meet its goal of reducing oxynitride emissions by 1.5 percent.

China has made plans to curb its oxynitride emissions and spend more money to reduce emissions in order to meet the emission reduction target set forth in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), Wu added.

The report painted a dark picture for rural areas, indicating that pollution discharges in those regions have increased as a result of the acceleration of agricultural industrialization and the integration of urban and rural areas.

In 2011, the MEP began monitoring pollutants in 364 rural villages on a trial basis, finding that 81.9 percent of the villages met national air quality standards, the report said.

However, 21.5 percent of soil samples from these villages failed to meet national soil quality standards, the report said, adding that soil around landfills, farms and companies tended to be contaminated.

The government has spent 8 billion yuan (1.26 billion U.S. dollars) as of 2011 to protect the environment in rural areas, Wu said.

Wu said a database has been established to handle contaminated soil samples collected between 2006 and 2010.

"The MEP will pass the survey results on to the State Council and publish the results at the proper time," Wu said.

Wu said the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan has encouraged China to keep a closer eye on the environment. Environmental radiation levels remain stable in the country, and no obvious changes have been detected in areas close to nuclear energy facilities, Wu said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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