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Environmental protection goals not met
2006-04-12 20:25:34 Xinhua English
BEIJING, April 12-- High consumption of energy and power in the 10th Five-Year Plan period(2000-05), especially after 2002, has led to some environmental protection goals not being met in this period, the State Environmental Protection Administration(SEPA) said yesterday in Beijing.

Among the 20 environmental goals set for the 10th Five-Year Plan, eight have not been achieved, said Zou Shoumin, deputy head of the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning(CAEP) under SEPA.

The five-year plan stipulated that discharges of sulphur dioxide should be cut by 10 percent, but compared with discharge levels from 2000, levels of the pollutant increased by 27 per cent in 2005.

Another six goals, such as reducing the discharge of carbon dioxide and industrial solid waste, or increasing the capabilities of wastewater treatments, have not been fully realized.

"We worked out the 10th Five-Year Plan on the basis of economic levels in 1998 and 1999," Zou said."However, after 2002, China witnessed rapid development after the Asian financial crisis of 1997."

CAEP expected that in 2005, China's energy consumption would not exceed 1.5 billion tons standard coal. However, the country had used 2.2 billion tons that year.

Thermal-power generation, as the biggest consumer of coal and discharger of sulphur dioxide, has seen growth far beyond the plan. According to the plan, in 2005, the installed capability of thermo-power generation was about 400 megawatts. But the de-facto installed capability reached more than 500 megawatts.

"Energy consumption and thermo-power generation development made a major contribution to the failure of sulphur dioxide reductions," Zou said.

"But during that period, the country's environmental status generally improved, although the problem of environmental pollution remains pressing," said Zhu Jianping, deputy director of China National Environmental Monitoring Centre.

The old approach economic growth first and pollution treatments second has largely resulted in the current situation, Qu Geping, president of the China Environmental Protection Foundation, said at a meeting on urban environment and sustainable development in Shanghai yesterday.

Incorrect decision-making about the use of resources is also a culprit, Qu said. As the largest consumer of coal, China has from the very beginning allowed crude coal to be burned before being processed, to reduce its pollutants.

Maurice Strong, environmental expert and first director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said at the meeting that China is now on the right track to environmental protection.

"China is showing its commitment to the challenge," Strong said.

(Source: China Daily)

Editor:

Du Jing

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