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China's Pollution Efforts Showing Results: Minister
   2016-03-11 19:38:32    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guo Yan

Chinese Minister of Environmental Protection Chen Jining gives a press conference on how to promote environmental protection on the sidelines of the fourth session of China's 12th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 11, 2016.[Photo: Xinhua]     

China's environment minister says the crackdown on pollution is showing results, indicated by an overall reduction in measurements across the country.

Chen Jining made the remark on the sidelines of the annual political sessions in Beijing.

 


Minister of Environmental Protection Chen Jining says China's efforts to tackle environmental pollution over the past year have been successful.

"Our efforts have resulted in an obvious trend of improvement in air quality. For example, last year in the 74 cities that implemented new environmental and air quality standards, annual average concentration of PM 2.5 was 55 micrograms per cubic meter, down 14.1-percent year on year. NASA satellites also observed a reduction of particles in China's eastern and middle regions last year."

Chen also highlights the enforcement of environmental protection laws by local governments, and dealing with local officials who have shielded polluting companies from punishment because of the desire to maintain or expand tax revenues.

The minister notes that more than 190,000 companies have been punished for breaching environmental rules.

"In the past year, we have encountered some problems when implementing the new environment protection law. Some local government failed to perform their responsibilities for environmental protection. And some companies also failed to practice their responsibilities and make their information on environment open to the public. Another problem is in some areas there is a lack of staff and equipment for some law enforcement departments."

Chen has pledged to keep up the pressure on local governments to implement environmental policies.

He says local governments and firms will face tougher punishments for violating rules, referring to a new environment law that took effect in January.

The new legislation also aims to promote the use of clean energy.

According to the minister, China is promoting the clean use of coal and boosting low-emissions facilities for coal-fired power plants that rival those of gas-fired plants.

The official denies some concerns that China may be facing a trade-off between environmental improvement and economic growth.

"There are some people who think that protecting the environment is a burden, will affect the GDP, and affect development, so there is a problem that these people think they can't, or they are afraid to (take measures to protect the environment). Our economy has now entered a new normal, which is to transform from extensive growth in the past, from chasing quantity to striving for quality."

The official says there aren't polluting industries - only polluting firms.

He adds the unfair competitive advantage polluting industries enjoy should be eliminated.

Related: China's Environment Minister Hails Court Ruling on Desert Pollution

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