China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

People share nation's concern for the environment

By Li Fangchao (China Daily) Updated: 2007-01-16 07:30

The deteriorating condition of China's environment is a concern shared by the majority of its people, shows a recent survey.

The survey conducted by China Environmental Culture Promotion Association, under the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), showed that more than 60 percent people felt the condition of the environment was indeed very serious.

Only 24 percent of the 4,482 residents polled across 28 cities and towns said they were happy with the overall condition of the environment.

"The environment along with medical and educational problems are the three major public concerns," association secretary-general Wang Panpu said yesterday.

The survey asked 14 questions closely related to people's daily life such as food safety, drinking water, air pollution and waste disposal, with 86 percent respondents saying environmental pollution had harmed people's health.

Food safety became a big concern for 82 percent people after a series of food poisoning and sub-standard food cases were detected.

Water pollution, which hit the headlines frequently, made drinking water a major concern for 81 percent of the respondents.

The survey also found that 10 percent urban and 7.5 percent rural residents believed the places where they lived were not healthy.

But sadly, only 16 percent respondents said they would tip off the environment department if they saw enterprises damaging the environment.

The survey shows that public awareness for environmental protection still needs to be enhanced, Wang said.

But it's good to see "more and more people knowing how to defend their rights through proper ways".

The SEPA received 600,000 complaints on environmental issues last year, an increase of 30 percent over 2005.

Wang said that a good sign is that 61 percent of the respondents were convinced that the central and local governments both are "attaching huge importance" to environmental protection work and 70 percent voted for the tough measures SEPA had taken to curb pollution.

The SEPA exposed 82 projects that seriously violated State environmental appraisal norms last month.

The projects with a cumulative investment of 112.3 billion yuan ($14 billion) were spread over 12 sectors, including steel, power and chemical plants, in 22 provinces and regions.

It also stopped environment appraisal for all the projects in four cities and four of the country's major power groups.

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