China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, October 16, 2006

China's environmental watchdog puts Shanghai expressway on blacklist, for noise pollution

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2006
SHANGHAI, China China's environmental watchdog has included Shanghai's outer ring road, which circles the city and is the main access for both of its airports, on its blacklist of construction projects.

Other projects cited by the State Environmental Protection Agency included a coking plant in northern China's Shanxi province that failed to get approval, or to build water treatment or coal gas purification facilities for its coking ovens, used to process coal into higher grade coke used for steelmaking.

The list, seen Friday on the agency's Web site, showed partial results from investigations into 2,453 construction projects built in 2000-2005.

The Shanxi coking plant was ordered to stop operations and was given an undisclosed deadline to meet environmental standards, it said.

The list also included several power plants and highways in two other parts of the country.

The inclusion of Shanghai's outer ring road is something of a loss of face for China's largest city, which prides itself on its modern skyscrapers, roads and other showcase sites.

In recent years, the city has redoubled efforts to clean up fouled waterways and improve compliance with auto emissions controls.

But the city failed to abide by an order to install noise barriers along parts of the highway by July 2004 and now faces a new deadline for compliance, the agency said.

An official in the Shanghai city government office, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the city was aware of the problem and was working on a "detailed plan" to solve it.

The environment agency's statement cited an unnamed "responsible official," who slammed local governments for disregarding efforts to reduce energy consumption and pollution, hurting public health and lifestyles.

"The main reason is that local governments pursue fast economic growth but neglect the price of environmental destruction," it said.

The agency, until recently virtually toothless in its efforts to enforce pollution and other safeguards, appears to have gained greater influence in part due to a recognition by top leaders of the severe damage wrought by three decades of breakneck industrial development.


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