China Environmental News Digest

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

China to invest 10 bln yuan to control pollution of Songhua River

By Xinhua Writers Wu Jing, Wang Jingzhong and Tian Sulei

March 29 (Xinhua) -- China will invest 10 billion yuan(around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars) over the next five years to curb the pollution of the northeastern Songhua River, according to a plan approved by China's State Council on Wednesday.

plan is to prevent and control pollution in the drainage area of the river, which flows into a river on the China-Russia border. While approving the plan, the executive meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao also ordered the launch of a batch of projects to tackle industrial sources of pollution and treat urban sewage.

senior official with the State Bureau of Environment Protection (SBEP) said the plan will include more than 200 projects, among which 100 or more will work on pollution caused by industrial production. It is expected to enhance the ability to reduce chemical oxygen depletion (COD) by 70,000 tons each year.

projects will work on improving facilities for sewage processing and they are expected to handle 3 million tons of sewage every day. And the remaining 20 projects will focus on certain areas that were seriously polluted.

his remarks, the executive meeting of the State Council said that "priorities shall go to treatment and protection of collective sources of drinking water in large and medium-sized cities to ensure safety of drinking water and water quality of the China-Russia border river."

will also go to populous cities, namely, Harbin, Changchun, Jilin, Qiqihar, Daqing, Jiamusi, and Mudanjiang, an official with the State Development and Reform Commission said when asked to comment on the plan.

noted that the plan has proposed concrete measures to insure pollution control work and set targets for the work by 2010, which include:

Sources of drinking water in large and medium-sized cities in the area should be treated and put under protection.

Tasks to treat urban sewage of major cities and major sources of industrial pollution should be fulfilled.

Major pollution hazards should be effectively controlled and monitored. Total volume of discharge of major pollutants should be effectively controlled.

Water quality of seriously polluted water bodies in large and medium-sized cities should be improved.

Monitoring of water quality and water pollution early-warning and emergency response mechanisms in this area should be improved markedly.

meeting said the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to the prevention and control of pollution in this area and has put it on the 11th Five-Year (2006-2010) Plan for national economic and social development.

the job well is of great significance to reinvigorating the old industrial base of Northeast China, boosting coordinated economic and social development and improving people's lives," the meeting said.

the same day, the SBEP announced that China had 73 incidents of water pollution following that of the Songhua River. SBEP Deputy Director Pan Yue said more active measures will be taken to monitor pollution, and more severe punishment will be given to those responsible for the pollution.

Songhua River suffered grave pollution last year, caused by accident at an upstream chemical plant. It forced cities along the river to temporarily suspend drawing water from the river, affecting the lives of millions of residents and normal operation of businesses.

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