China suspends industrial projects citing environmental risks – AFP

From AFP via The Nation (link):

China has suspended approval of, or rejected, proposed industrial plants worth billions of dollars because they could threaten the environment, an environmental chief said Wednesday.

, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said his bureau suspended approval for 44 proposed industrial plants and rejected plans for another 16 in the first quarter. The plants would have been worth a total of 189.5 billion yuan (23.6 billion dollars) in investment, said the bureau’s website.

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The location of scores of chemical, petrochemical and power plants along major rivers means they still pose a major risk to the environment, according to the bureau’s interim results from a major assessment.

“This is to say, when the chemical and petrochemical industries planned their location, there was much consideration on the economic development and few on environmental protection,” Pan said.

, once seen as a powerless agency, has been given a new lease of life since the government of President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao came to power in 2003.

Previous government reports have said that more than 70 per cent of China’s rivers and lakes are polluted, while underground water in 90 per cent of Chinese cities is polluted.

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