China outdoing developed nations in controlling pollution- minister

Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:58am GMT
 

BEIJING, March 11 (Reuters) - China, often hit by choking smog that blankets the populous east and north, is doing a better job at controlling pollution than developed countries at similar stages of development, the environment minister said on Friday.

China has been under increasing pressure to halt pollution of its air, soil and water caused by more than three decades of economic growth, and at this year's full session of parliament it promised to cap energy use and draft new laws to decontaminate its soil.

Beijing frequently features near the top of the list of China's most polluted cities as emissions from vehicles and heavy industry combine with weather conditions to raise smog levels. The worst bouts of air pollution tend to coincide with periods of low wind.

Large parts of China suffered a three-week bout of heavy smog in November and December, but the situation had improved in the first two months of 2016, Minister Chen Jining told reporters.

Brushing off suggestions that the improvement only came about because of heavy winds, Chen said China had already made huge efforts to tackle pollution and acid rain.

"We have solved the problems earlier and better than developed countries," he said. "I believe that on the treatment of smog, we will also do it well and our development will become increasingly green."

China said this week that it would aim to pass a law aimed at tackling soil pollution, which has raised concerns about food safety.

Chen said the legislation was taking a long time because the issue was complex, but he insisted that even without the law, the government was working hard to improve agricultural land.

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