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141 Products Blacklisted for Serious Pollution

China's environmental watchdog blacklisted 141 products on Tuesday for causing serious pollution or posing serious environmental risks.

The list included products closely linked to people's daily life, such as warfarin, mirex, DDT and nickel-cadmium cell, said Pan Yue, deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

The administration suggested retrieving the tax refund of 39 of the listed products after they were exported and banning the processing trade of these products.

The products were selected through a discussion of experts and relevant trade unions, according to Pan who noted the SEPA would blacklist more highly-polluting products in future.

He revealed the body would set up a data bank of such products and deliver regular public reports.

"The blacklisted products placed a great negative impact on the environment. The chrome sour calcium in chrome residue, a surplus element for the production of heavy chrome sour sodium, was not only a strong carcinogen but also difficult to deal with."

China currently had about four million tons of chrome residue that had yet to be dealt with. It was still generating at least 500,000 tons annually, something that required a large input for treatment.

"We should not only strictly limit its production, but also ban its tax refund, so that no more pollution be generated," Pan said.

Experts estimated the treatment cost over the pollution caused by the blacklisted products accounted for 10 to 30 percent of their production costs. Pollution caused by some of the products were difficult to control.

"This move is urgently needed to safeguard people's health, curb environmental pollution and fulfill China's commitment to the international community," Pan said.

He noted the blacklisting would help boost a "green trading" system that is fully adaptable to the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Most of the legal documents within the WTO's framework demonstrated that all countries have the right to take necessary measures to restrict international trade in view to protect life or the health of human beings, animal and plants.

China attached great importance to the control over producing and trading high-polluting products. To restrain exports of high-pollution products, the State Council, the Cabinet, has required the SEPA to keep a record of highly-polluting products and work out relevant control policies.

Besides the green trading system, China has introduced three other green policies -- in securities, insurance and credit -- in a bid to solve severe environmental problems through economic measures.

The green securities policy, which was made public on Monday, stipulated highly-polluting companies must pass environmental inspections when applying for an initial public offering (IPO) or refinancing.

The green insurance system, which aimed to have all industries with pollution risks insured, would be implemented nationwide by 2015 after a trial period. The goal would be to have insurers compensate victims of environmental accidents, avoid bankruptcy by the polluting company and lessen the government's financial burden.

The green credit policy was launched in July. It instructed banks to limit lending to energy-intensive, polluting industries. Under this policy, companies with violations could be barred from getting loans and those with outstanding loans could have them called in.

(Xinhua News Agency February 27, 2008)

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