China: 5-year aim for pollutant emissions reduction met

Environment minister says target reached before deadline, but extra 30 to 50 percent cut needed for significant improvement

China: 5-year aim for pollutant emissions reduction met

World Bulletin / News Desk

China’s environment minister said Sunday that targets for reducing the emissions of four major pollutants under a five-year plan were met six months before the deadline, but stressed the need for additional cuts for significant improvement.

"Not only are we working to fix our domestic environmental problems, we have made considerable contributions to addressing international challenges, too," Xinhua quoted Chen Jining as saying while referring to an approximately 250,000-ton decline in the use of ozone-depleting substances.

Under the 12th Five-Year Plan for 2010-2015, there had been a 12.9- and 10.1-percent decrease in the discharge of sulfur dioxide and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) – used to measure the amount of organic pollutants in water – between 2010 and 2014.

Meanwhile, the discharge of ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide dropped by 9.8 and 8.6 percent during the same period, according to the minister.

The 12th Five-Year Plan had set a target of reducing sulfur dioxide and COD emissions by 8 percent, and those of ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide by 10 percent over the covered period, according to Xinhua.

Chen added, however, that around 20 million tonnes of the pollutants were still discharged each year, and an additional 30 to 50 percent cut was needed for significant environmental improvement.

Chen nonetheless assured that the reduction of emissions of the four major pollutants had continued during the first half of 2015.

China declared a “war” on pollution last year amid increasing public concern for the environment and health impacts. Due to rapid development and industrialization, many of the country’s biggest cities rank among the most polluted urban centers in the world.

Despite protective measures, heavy smog remains a recurring problem.

The National Meteorological Center issued a yellow alert for China’s northern and central regions Saturday evening, renewing its status Sunday for the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Kasım 2015, 12:44