China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Seas, rivers face serious pollution threats

Updated: 2006-10-16 19:50

China will make an all-out effort to protect its marine environment, which is
facing very serious pollution threats, said the country's top environment
official Monday.

"China is a country with huge marine resources, and its oceans and coastal
regions are crucial parts of the country's economy," said Zhou Shengxian,
director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

"But pollution control in and along China's rivers and seas is still under
great pressure," Zhou said, adding that pollution originating on land had been
on the rise for many years.

Zhou made the remarks in Beijing at a five-day GPA workshop, a global UNEP
(the United Nations Environment Programme) program on action to protect the
marine environment.

"Marine environment crises occur regularly in China, and pollution is still
very serious at the mouths of major rivers and some bays," Zhou said.

Measures to clean up the environment will focus on northeastern Bohai Bay,
the areas around the mouth of the Yangtze River and the southern section of the
Pearl River in Guangdong Province, he said, adding that sewage discharge would
be restricted in these areas.

The three key areas pinpointed by Zhou are close to China's three major
economic engines -- the Bohai industrial belt, the Shanghai region, and the
Pearl River Delta in Guangdong, bordering Hong Kong.

Zhou took over the SEPA office last December after his predecessor Xie
Zhenhua was sacked over a chemical spill that seriously polluted the country's
northeastern Songhua River.

Cities along the river, including Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province
and a city of more than 3 million people, were forced to temporarily shut down
tap water. Russian environmental officials were then mobilized to join pollution
control efforts as pollutants flowed down the river towards China's northern

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