From Xinhua News Agency (link):
The State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA) of China vowed recently to tackle the serious environmental problems that may trigger mass protests over pollution.
Mass protests of such kind have been on the rise in recent years, increasing at a rate of almost 30 percent a year, and they often occurred in economically developed regions, Zhou Shengxian, head of the SEPA, was quoted by the China Daily as saying.
The newspaper reported on Thursday that more than 50,000 disputes over environmental pollution occurred in 2005, and 97.1 percent of all environmental mishaps involved the release of pollution.
Water contamination made up 50.6 percent of the total accidents. Almost 40 percent of environmental accidents involved air pollution. The accidents collectively caused up to 105 million yuan (about 13.1 million U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses, said the newspaper.