|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at the
national conference on environmental protection held on April 18, 2006.
BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) -- "We cannot just sit for discussions behind the
closed door while the sandy weather has raged outside for more than ten days,"
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced at a national conference on environmental
"Besides climatic factors, it mirrors the critical
environmental situation we are facing," Wen said of Beijing being enveloped in
While addressing the conference held from Monday to
Tuesday, Wen said China should be on high alert to fight against worsening
environmental pollution and ecological deterioration in some regions, and
environmental protection should be given a higher priority in the drive for
The major targets of environmental protection during
the recently ended tenth Five-Year Plan (2000-2005) were not achieved as
scheduled, and new problems have emerged, he said.
China had set a target of cutting discharges of sulphur
dioxide by 10 percent in 2000-2005. It set the same target for reducing
emissions of carbon monoxide, but only managed a 2 percent cut, according to the
State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
"Lack of awareness, insufficient planning, and a weak
legal framework can be blamed for the severe environmental pollution in the
country," Wen noted.
According to the recently adopted 11th Five-Year
Program (2006-2010), energy consumption in terms of per capita GDP growth should
be cut by 20 percent, major pollutants should drop by 10 percent and forest
coverage should rise to 20 percent from 18.2 percent, he said.
The Premier has set out four priorities for current
and future environmental protection. These include strengthening water
conservation, controlling atmosphere and soil pollution, enhancing protection of
the national ecology, re-adjusting the economic structure and boosting the
environmental technology and protection industry.
SEPA has reported 45 other pollution accidents in the
two and a half months after the Songhua River spill last November which had
threatened water supplies of four million residents in the city of Harbin,
capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
Another accident listed by the administration was a cadmium
spill along the Beijiang River in South China's Guangdong province that
also threatened the local drinking and agricultural water supplies.
Other major water pollution incidents included
chemical spills along Northeast China's Hun River, central China's Hunan's
Xiangjiang River, and a diesel spill along the Yellow River in Henan Province,
as well as an oil spill in Ganjiang River in central China's Jiangxi Province.
Wen ordered local governments on Monday to release
information on energy consumption and pollutant emissions every six months, set
plans to control emissions and step up environmental assessment of construction
Protective policies on the exploitation of resources should
be carried out and legal and supervisory systems established, acknowledged
Wen, who also urged localities to allocate more money and raise
public awareness of environmental protection. Enditem £®by Li Xing, Guo Likun