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China to Invest $175 Billion in Environmental Protection Over Five Years

China has announced plans to invest $175 billion (1.4 trillion yuan) in environmental protection between 2006 and 2010, according to official news sources in China.
Photo of the Great Wall by Joan Ho

The money—equal to more than 1.5 percent of China’s annual gross domestic product (GDP)—will be used to control water pollution, improve air quality in China’s cities, increase solid waste disposal and reduce soil erosion in rural areas, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

China has created an economic miracle fueled by rapid industrial growth and international trade—two decades of nearly double-digit economic growth—but at an environmental cost so high that it has led to internal riots, international protests, and the arrest of Chinese environmentalists. Air pollution has fouled China’s air, chemical spills have poisoned rivers that supply drinking water to millions of people, raw sewage has given rise to near-epidemics of waterborne diseases, and soil contamination ruins millions of tons of grain each year.

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The new investments are intended to repair some of the environmental damage already done, and to help prevent future problems.

China plans to build sewage-treatment plants in 10 river valleys to dispose of waste water from urban areas, reduce the amount of sulphur dioxide and dust in 113 major Chinese cities, and set up 31 dangerous-waste disposal centers to treat domestic garbage. China also plans to build facilities to ensure nuclear safety and to prevent nuclear radiation, according to the NDRC.

These investments are expected to pay economic as well as environmental dividends. According to official estimates, China’s environmental protection industry will generate yearly revenues of $110 billion (880 billion yuan) by the end of 2010, with an estimated annual growth rate of 15 percent thereafter.

More information:
China to invest $175 bln in environment clean-up (Reuters)
US$175 bln earmarked for environmental protection (China Daily/Xinhua)
China to spend 1.4t yuan on environment (Shanghai Daily)

Wednesday July 19, 2006 | comments (0)

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