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UN Releases Report on China's Air Pollution Control

China News Digest, 28 November 2001

[CND, 11/28/01] A UN report said some major cities in China had the highest levels of air pollution in the world and the government needed to take tough measures to reduce industrial and vehicle pollution, AFP reported on Tuesday.

In a report released on Monday, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warned of poor air quality in China's major cities. In some cities the levels of pollutant concentrations were found several times above the safe limits for human health and environment, it said.

One of the six UNDP pollution control projects in China was cited in the report. The project showed that burning cleaner coal and increasing energy efficiency might have contributed to the 30 percent reduction in acid rain precipitation in Guyang, the capital city of Guizhou province.

The UN report, entitled Urban Air Pollution Control in China, went further to recommend China to use market-oriented solutions based on the rule of law to cut air pollution. It suggested the government to stop subsidizing prices of fuel and electricity, arguing that they should be linked to environmental damages and pollution controls. It also argued that reform to China's state-owned enterprises would lead to better efficiency and less waste.

UNDP also called for strong enforcement of laws against polluters of excessive emissions and more controls on vehicle emissions. It even suggested the government to restrict new car licenses in centers of major cities. (LIU Weijun)