China provides cash to protect environment

The Chinese government has announced that it is to allocate 65 billion yuan (£5.5 billion) to protect the environment during the tenth five-year plan period, 2001-2005, Xie Zhenhua, Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration announced at a national environment conference.

However, according to China Daily, the total need for investment in industry during this period is 700 billion yuan (£59 billion), which is 1.3% of the country’s gross domestic product. This compares to 360 billion yuan (£30 billion), 0.93% of GDP, during the previous five-year plan.

According to the government, the current level of funding will reduce major pollutants in the country by 10% compared with 2000 levels by the end of 2005. Several new environmental laws are also expected to come into effect this year, including one on environmental evaluation, and stipulations on pollutant emission charges, said Xie. He called on officials across the country to abide by existing environmental regulations, warning that the Environmental Protection Administration will be carrying out inspections this year to ensure that this is happening.

Xie also announced that there will be training courses for grass-roots officials throughout the year, and educational programmes for raising public awareness will also continue.

China is also reported to be pushing for early passage of the Kyoto Protocol, calling it a win-win situation for industrialised and developing countries alike, following a meeting of European and Asian environment ministers.

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