more bleak news re China’s environment

China’s pollution problems cost the country more than US$200 billion a year, a top official said Monday as he called for better legal protection for grass roots groups so they can help the government clean up the environment.

Zhu Guangyao, deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Agency, estimated that damage to China’s environment is costing the government roughly 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. China’s GDP for 2005 was US$2.26 trillion.

Despite government efforts, China’s environmental picture is not improving, but worsening, he said, and “allows for no optimism.”

Zhu said environmental nongovernment organizations can play “important roles in promoting or pushing governments” to solve environmental problems.

He acknowledged that some local officials were not implementing the the central government’s guidelines very well.

Zhu said implementing the central government’s guidelines would also be a challenge for local officials who are accustomed to being judged on growth above all else and are fearful of the economic impact of tighter environmental controls. ….

Pollution costs China US$200 billion every year

see also, on People’s Daily online:
Full text: Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005)