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1st National Pollution Census to Focus on Industrial Sources

The first national census of pollution sources, to start in February, will focus on industrial sources, said the survey office in Beijing on Thursday.

The survey will cover 39 industries including metallurgy, chemistry, construction materials, power plants, paper-making, pharmaceuticals and mining, said Zhu Jianping, head of the office in charge of the survey.

The country has never done a full survey, although it did conduct one on industrial pollution sources and two on pollution sources among small township enterprises in the 1980s. But informal estimates suggest that China could currently have 720,000 industrial pollution sources.

Experts have complained of a lack of sound, current statistics on the sources and extent of pollution and the number of remediation facilities. These complaints led to the decision by the State Council in October 2006 to conduct the census.

It will identify sources of industrial, agricultural and residential pollution and also calculate the number of environmental remediation facilities in operation.

The survey of residential pollution will not go door-to-door but will target bigger polluters such as hotels and restaurants, Zhu said.

Local administrations, companies and institutions are being urged to give accurate information. Those that don't could be fined as much as 50,000 yuan (US$6,849), under an earlier regulation that covers procedures for the survey.

According to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), it will take about two months to collect the data and half a year to analyze the findings. In the first half of 2009, the findings will be examined and approved.

The headquarters of the census has been established, comprised of officials from the SEPA and the Ministry of Agriculture, which manages agricultural pollution.

Every province, autonomous region and municipality has also setup an office to take charge of the census.

The country has been preparing for the census for more than a year. The central government allocated 737 million yuan for preparations in 2007.

(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2008)

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