Government expects to spend close to $200 billion over three years

Posted on December 6, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Many of China’s lakes and rivers are considered highly polluted. From 2008 to 2010, China will spend more than $85 billion on measures to control water pollution, $80 billion on air pollution, and $28 billion on solid waste management. The expense is equivalent to 1.35% of the country’s expected gross domestic product (GDP) over the next three years.

OECD reported that one-third of China’s rivers and three-quarters of its lakes are highly polluted and that water in half of China’s major cities does not meet drinking-water quality standards. According to OECD, 70 million Chinese drink poor-quality water that puts them at risk for arsenic or fluoride poisoning.

Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reports that the country didn’t meet targets specified in its previous pollution-control plan, which ran from 2001 to 2005. For example, China aimed to reduce its sulfur dioxide emissions during those five years, but they increased by 28% instead. According to Xinhua, China spent $32 billion on environmental protection in 2005, the equivalent of 1.30% of its GDP that year.

The State Council, China’s highest decisionmaking body, says pollution is worsening largely because lower-level government bodies do not enforce national environmental standards. The council is promising that starting next year it will audit local government’s performance of enforcing standards.

In a report released this summer, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) said that poor air quality in major Chinese cities affects public health and causes significant economic losses. The group estimates that fine particles from coal combustion lead to 50,000 premature deaths and 500,000 new cases of chronic bronchitis annually.


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