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FROM THE CHINESE PRESS                          BEIJING REVIEW, MAY 17, 1999  

Air Pollution Costs Annual 110 Billion

Zhongguo Qingnian Bao (China Youth Daily)

Director of the State  Administration of Environmental Protection Xie Zhenhua said recently that China is suffering from serious air pollution, and that the losses induced by acid rain and sulfur dioxide total more than 110 billion yuan every year.

The acid rain area makes up 30 percent plus of the country's territory. Pollution from vehicle emissions is increasing rapidly. The amount of dust, induced by ecological damage, is also rising gradually.

Besides, there are problems with water resources. Almost half the Liaohe, Haihe, Huaihe, Yellow, Songhuajiang, Zhujiang and Yangtze rivers are seriously polluted. About 78 percent of the river stretches in urban areas cannot meet state standards.

The ecological situation is also worsening. About 38 percent of the territory, 367 million square kin, suffers from water shortages and soil erosion. The figure is increasing by 10,000 square km annually. The desertificated area has reached 2.62 million square kin, making up 27.3 percent of the territory. The figure is also increasing, by 2,460 square km annually. The area of degenerated, desertificated and alkalized grassland has reached 135 million hectares, increasing by 2 million hectares every year. Authoritative figures show that of the top 10 polluted cities in the world, eight are Chinese cities. Some two-thirds of urban Chinese people are living in a noisy environment.

In addition to the 110 billion yuan of losses caused by air pollution, the losses due to water pollution and land desertification will amount to an unimaginable figure.

Local leaders should cast their eyes to the issue of pollution while developing the economy.

(April 2, 1999)  


A Clean Stroke

WEN HUI BAO (Wenhui Daily)
Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, which used to be China's "Heaven on the Earth," will spend 4 billion yuan on environmental improvement this year.

The Grand Canal from Beijing to Hangzhou extends 30.5 km in Hangzhou. The daily 410,000 tons of sewerage discharge have made the period a natural disposal, causing direct economic losses amounting to 600 million yuan every year. Meanwhile, the pollution has posed a threat to drinking water and the health of 120,000 people in the northern rural area of the city. In an effort to tackle the problem, a sewerage project backed by 700 million yuan from the Hangzhou municipal government is expected to be put into use at the end of this year.

Though Hangzhou has finished more than 1 million square meters of greenery patches last year, it will develop another 1 million square meters this year, mainly covering river sides, hillsides, commercial centers, main roads, major entrances and exits of the downtown area and residential zones. A plan named "Forest in City" has been listed in the government's agenda. Implimentation of this plan will turn regional greenification into a comprehensive project, which stresses biodiversity and ecology. This will help satisfy people's desire for harmony between afforestation and nature.

In addition, a "Blue Sky" project is expected to bring fresher air to the residents in Hangzhou. To accomplish this goal, the city will continue to intensify its supervision over coal consumers to reduce discharge of soot and sulphur dioxide. Meanwhile, work will be done to handle the tail gas of vehicles to further improve the environment.

(March 3, 1999)


Shougang Strives to Control Pollution

BEIJING WANBAO (Beijing Evening News)

In 1998, the Shoudu Iron and Steel Co. (Shougang) invested 48 million yuan to complete a production line with an annual handling capacity of 1.2 million tons of waste residue. The production line, equipped with imported German technology and equipment, is designed to reduce the amount of pollution the company produces in Beijing.

Despite the price decline of its products and a capital shortage in recent years, Shougang increased its investment in environmental protection to 133 million yuan in 1998. The company planned 30 pollution-control projects between 1997-99, with 21 completed by November 1998. Over the past four years, Shougang invested 421 million yuan in completing 156 pollution-control projects, improving the local ecological environment significantly.

Shougang is now working hard to rejuvenate itself, but still faces a major contradiction between development and environmental protection -a difficult problem that also causes a headache for industrial enterprises in other developing countries.

(April 12, 1999)