China Environment Report

By Cynthia Kirk

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT.

The State Environmental Protection Administration in China says more must be done to protect the environment. It says many rivers in China are severely polluted. And its says air pollution levels are too high. The minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration says the government will increase its efforts to clean up pollution. He spoke during a press conference last month.

Officials say China's environment has suffered as a result of years of harmful policies designed to speed industrial development and expand grain harvests. The policies were put into effect to help feed more than one-thousand-million people in China.

Experts say China's rivers are among the dirtiest in the world. A government report says two-thirds of the Yellow River is badly polluted. The Yellow River is used to transport grain produced in northern China.

Environmental officials say they plan to establish protected areas and observations stations along the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. They want to inform the public about environmental problems.

The environmental protection agency says the air in almost forty-percent of China's cities is seriously polluted. Adding to the pollution has been a severe lack of rain. The drought has lowered water levels and increased the build-up of harmful chemicals.

China's new pollution control efforts have mostly targeted industrial polluters. Government agencies are now starting to examine agricultural waste.

In recent years, the Chinese government has dealt with problems of law enforcement. It has strengthened its inspection system, especially along the seven major rivers. Many polluters have had to pay fines. And, the Environmental Protection Administration has taken hundreds of cases to court. China also has its first legal aid office to help victims of pollution.

Chinese environmental officials say there have been some improvements. They say eighty-one percent of more than two-hundred-thousand polluting industries are meeting environmental protection rules. Also, unleaded gasoline is helping to reduce air pollution. And they say more than thirty-thousand coal mines in China have been closed.

This VOA Special English ENVIRONMENT REPORT was written by Cynthia Kirk. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English