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Pollution cut task on track

[ 2009-06-05 13:52]     字号 [] [] []  
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China is likely to complete its mandated emission cuts of major pollutants ahead of schedule, a senior official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) told China Daily yesterday.

By the end of 2008, the country had registered a drop in chemical oxygen demand (COD), a key test of water pollution, and the total emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the chief air pollutant, by 6.61 percent and 8.95 percent, respectively, from the 2005 level.

"The first quarter of this year also saw a steady plunge in the two indices," said Zhao Hualin, director of the total emission control department under the MEP. "So, it is very likely that the country will achieve its green targets earlier than expected." The country's 11th five-year plan goal was to reduce COD and SO2 emissions by 10 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Zhang Lijun, vice-minister of environmental protection, said earlier that China "will not relax its efforts in environmental protection and be over-satisfied with its achievements in 2008."

He said the task this year was to reduce 1.9 million tons of SO2 and 1.12 million tons of COD emissions.

However, some enterprises may slacken efforts at pollution treatment to save on costs amid the global economic downturn, said Zhao. This posed a challenge to the environment protection effort, he said

Meanwhile, the current projects-based measures to curb pollution have reached their limits, reducing the future capacity for emission reduction, he noted.

For instance, China required all its coal-fired power plants to install sulfur scrubbers to reduce SO2 emissions. By the end of 2008, more than 60 percent of China's thermal power generating units had been equipped with such facilities, compared to 12 percent in 2005.

"The remaining capacity is reducing, forcing us to find new battlegrounds for emission reduction. For instance, the sintering process at steel mills is also a major SO2 emitter," said Zhao.

Similarly, the country has spent a lot of money in constructing sewage treatment facilities at both factories and urban areas, but water pollution in rural areas, especially from livestock breeding, still poses a great challenge.

"Strong technical inputs are needed to solve these problems," said Zhao.

The MEP and some research institutes are currently drafting the environment management plan for the 12th five-year plan (2011-15), according to Zhao.

The country is poised to strengthen its efforts to slash SO2 and COD emissions during the next five years, but the detailed target is still being discussed.

New pollution indicators, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), which is discharged from vehicles and power plants, and which causes acid rain; and ammonia nitrogen, another major measure of water quality, are likely to be included in the emission control list.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Pollution cut task on track

Pollution cut task on trackBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.