October 24, 2005

China to blacklist, penalize polluting cities: report

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is to blacklist cities that fail
to reach national air quality standards and penalize them by
warning off investors, state media quoted environment officials
as saying on Monday.

The State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) will also
control construction projects that could worsen air pollution
in the worst-offending cities.

"The list will be announced regularly to warn cities of
deteriorating air quality," Xinhua news agency quoted Zhang
Lijun, SEPA's deputy director, as telling a forum on air

China's economy has grown into the world's seventh-largest
during more than two decades of economic reform, but its growth
has come at the expense of the environment. China is the
world's second-largest producer of greenhouse gases.

Large Chinese cities are typically choked by car exhaust,
factory emissions and construction dust, and pollution is
compounded by coal-burning heating plants lit during the

Zhang said there would be serious consequences for human
health if emissions of sulphur dioxide were not curbed. SEPA
was drafting a program focused on cleaning up coal power
plants, with coal used to generate more than two-thirds of the
country's power.

China's emissions of sulphur dioxide were the highest in
the world last year, causing acid rain across 30 percent of the
country, the report said.

With China also the world's fastest-growing car market,
SEPA official Li Xinmin said it would also write regulations
aimed at curbing auto pollution into the country's 11th Five
Year Plan, which will come into effect from 2006.