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China's plan to tackle industrial and farmland pollution

Sunday, April 8th 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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Six thousand of China's top industrial polluters will be under closer scrutiny by the country's top environmental watchdog. The list, published on the website of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), includes well-known companies and factories, reports “China Daily”.

Some major names include Sinopec's Nanjing facility, a steel plant owned by Beijing Shougang Company and Meng Niu Dairy Company, one of the country's biggest milk producers based in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. An estimated 80.000 companies were inspected according to "China Daily". Some 3,592 companies have been identified as the worst air polluters, responsible for 65% of the sulphur dioxide and other industrial emissions. Another 3,115 companies were found responsible for 65% of all industrial waste water, which includes ammonia, nitrogen and organic compounds. Among the 6,066 polluters on the list, 641 produced dual contamination, SEPA said. In Shanxi, the biggest coal-producing province, more than 400 plants are being monitored for waste gas and Hebei, a chemical industry stronghold, is home to more than 300 water-polluting plants. "The list reflects the pollution situation in local areas," Fan Yuansheng, director of Pollution Control Department of the SEPA, told Xinhua News Agency. "Other programs, like allocating pollution emission credits or operating the national survey on pollution emission, will take the list for reference," Fan said. SEPA requires all the companies on the list to install automatic monitoring and control systems that are directly connected to local environmental protection departments. The administration also said that the departments must do site checks at least once a month and ensure the appropriate pollution discharge fees are paid. However independent world environmental protection agencies such as World Wildlife Fund are skeptical about how far Chinese authorities are willing to go with their plans. SEPA is also involved in a soil survey following reports that over 10% of Chinese farmland has been polluted. The inspection, which started in July last year focuses on soil quality in some main grain-producing and industrial areas. SEPA figures show that 12 million tons of grains are polluted each year by heavy metals that have found their way into the soil. According to a report in Oriental Outlook weekly 10 million hectares of farmland, 10% of the country's total arable land, has been polluted by wastewater, solid waste and other pollutants.

Categories: Economy, International.

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