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Trade - Editor, 19 February 2014

China Invests in Cleaning Up Pollution



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A recent announcement by China's Ministry of Environment Protection that the government plans to invest 2 trillion yuan in the development of technologies to deal with the pollution of its main water resources is no doubt welcome news to environmentalists and those dependent on these resources for their daily water supply. The 2 trillion yuan budget for tackling the water pollution problem exceeds the 1.7 trillion yuan budgeted for dealing with the country's much-publicized air pollution issue. While the plan on how to deal with the water pollution problem is still to be finalized, the size of the budget allocated is seen as an indication of the level of commitment to making the project work.

It has been noted that China has around 7 percent of the global water resources, while its population accounts for up to 20 percent of the global population, and this is not taking into account that much of China's water is polluted due to industrialization and the country's dependence on coal as an energy source. Government data reveals that a survey of 5,000 groundwater check points in 2012 revealed that 57.3 percent of the samples taken were polluted. Previous discussions regarding water pollution included the setting up of sludge treatment facilities and this will likely feature in future plans.

With regard to the high-levels of air pollution being experienced in Beijing, authorities have demanded that 15,000 factories in and around the city to publicly report details of their emissions, as well as on their wastewater and heavy metal disposal. This ground-breaking move has surprised many environmentalist groups that have for some time being putting pressure on Beijing to release air pollution data, particularly as many of these factories are run by state-owned companies. This is seen as a step in the right direction to address a problem that is right in front of every Beijing citizen's eyes, as sometimes the fog hanging over the city restricts visibility to a few feet.

Developing renewable energy sources – wind and solar – is high on the list of priorities in tackling air pollution, and this competitive market is thriving in China, with new technologies being developed all the time and creating opportunities for investors with an eye on a cleaner future.

Trade

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