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Environmental Watchdog Blacklists Polluted Cities

An annual urban environment assessment report has blacklisted such major Chinese cities as northwestern Xinjiang's Urumqi and central Hubei's industrial Huanggang for their poor environmental record.

The report, released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Wednesday, said northern Inner Mongolia's Bayannur and Ulanqab, northwestern Gansu's Baiyin, Xinjiang's regional capital Urumqi and Hubei's Huanggang had "relatively poor" air quality.

It also listed cities having low-level water quality. They were Hengshui and Cangzhou in northern Hebei, Linfen in northern Shanxi, Fuyang in eastern Anhui, Tongchuan in northwestern Shaanxi and Wuwei in Gansu.

The report said in 2007 the country's overall urban environment had improved and local governments had increased spending on environmental protection.

It showed the urban sewage processing rate increased by 9.4 percentage points, while garbage recycling rose by 8.1 percentage points. Medical waste rose 4.31 percentage points year on year.

The report assessed the environment of 617 cities, more than 90 percent of the national total, up by 22 over the previous year.

It pointed out many cities had made the annual assessment as a major reference for gauging local governments' environmental protection efforts.

According to the report, major cities' sewage treatment rate reached 64.44 percent, up by 3.75 percentage points year on year, and garbage recycling and medical waste treatment hit 82.09 and 84.06 percent, up 0.9 and 1.83 percentage points respectively.

The public satisfaction rate exceeded 90 percent in cities such as coastal Shandong Province's Linyi, Dongying, Rizhao and Yantai, and the northernmost Heilongjiang Province's Daqing and Heihe, the report said.

Residents of Shanxi's coal base Datong and southern Guangxi's Hezhou were the least satisfied with their environment.

(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2008)

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