China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, June 05, 2006

China's annual pollution price tag: $200 billion

BEIJING -- Ap Via Msn News,China's pollution problems cost the country more than US$200 billion a year, a top official said Monday as he called for better legal protection for grass roots groups so they can help the government clean up the environment.

Zhu Guangyao, deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Agency, estimated that damage to China's environment is costing the government roughly 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product. China's GDP for 2005 was US$2.26 trillion.

Despite government efforts, China's environmental picture is not improving, but worsening, he said, and "allows for no optimism."

Zhu said environmental nongovernment organizations can play "important roles in promoting or pushing governments" to solve environmental problems.

He acknowledged that some local officials have tried to silence environmental NGOs, but said this was a violation of government policy.

Zhu accused some local-level officials of working against the central government's environmental protection efforts, but he did not give specifics. He said the government was cracking down on such activities. (AP)

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