China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, March 06, 2006

China's Wen calls for measures to 'basically halt' damage to environment

Sun Mar 5, 6:04 AM ET

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for measures over the next five years to "basically halt" the destruction of the nation's environment in the name of economic growth.

Wen was introducing lawmakers assembled at the Great Hall of the People to energy-saving policies and other efforts planned for the next five years.

"Conscientiously fulfilling these tasks and measures will significantly increase the efficiency of resource consumption and basically halt the ecological and environmental deterioration," he said.

Wen's annual work report, delivered at the start of the 10-day meeting of the National People's Congress, contained more references to China's dire environmental situation than in previous years.

"We must work ceaselessly if we are to create clean and pleasant living and working conditions for the people and leave our future generations with blue skies, green land, clear water and verdant mountains," he said.

The 11th five-year plan, which lasts from this year until late 2010, sets rough numerical targets for a reduction of pollution, calling for a 10 percent reduction in the total discharge of major pollutants by the end of the decade.

"We will strengthen law enforcement and improve inspections to monitor environmental and ecological protection," he said.

Industrial pollution of China's waterways drew the global spotlight last November when a chemical factory explosion in northeastern Jilin province released 100 tonnes of toxic benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua river, forcing officials to cut off the water supply to millions of people downstream.

It was one of China's biggest environmental scares and raised major concerns in Russia as the slick also threatened to affect people on that side of the border.

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