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China Says Environment Spending Falls Short

Published by MAC on 2005-03-31

China Says Environment Spending Falls Short

Planet Ark (Reuters)

March 31, 2005

Beijing - China's spending on pollution control and environmental protection will fall at least 30 percent short of targets for 2001 to 2005 despite two decades of industrialisation that have left the country with some of the smoggiest cities in the world, the China Daily said on Wednesday.

Current plans called for China to spend nearly $85 billion in those five years to clean up notoriously smoggy cities and fouled waterways, the newspaper said.

But actual spending would only hit 70 percent of that target, Chen Bin, vice head of the State Environmental Protection Administration's planning and finance department, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Although officials have voiced increasing concern over pollution, environmental controls have mostly taken a back seat to efforts to develop the economy.

Plans being drafted for the five years starting in 2006 would earmark some $157 billion for environmental spending, Chen said.

That spending would account for about 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, but Chen said that proportion needed to rise to about 3 percent before noticeable improvements could be made in the environment.

China was focusing its environmental protection efforts on treating hazardous waste, sewage and garbage, and on cleaning up the many coal-fired power plants that provide most of the country's energy, Chen said.

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