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August 19, 2009

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UN green experts praise city efforts

THE United Nations Environment Program praised Shanghai's efforts in organizing an environmentally friendly 2010 World Expo in an assessment released yesterday.

The assessment applauded the city's efforts in nine areas of the Expo - air quality, transport, energy, solid waste, water, green coverage, protected areas, climate neutrality and the overall site.

The city had a network of air pollution monitoring stations comparable to developed countries, the UN group said.

It realized the reduction of sulfur dioxide through desulfurizing power plants in five years and would build a world-class rapid transit network of more than 400 kilometers of tracks in 20 years using many new-energy vehicles.

The city government also limited private car growth through license-plate auctions, the assessment said.

The traffic measures the city implemented, such as tightening emission standards and accelerating replacement of older and more polluting cars, were effective in stabilizing nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, the two main air pollutants of recent years.

The city accelerated its environmental initiatives when preparing for the Expo.

By 2009, investments in environmental protection reached 42 billion yuan (US$6.15 billion), three times more than in 2000, the assessment said.

The Expo would "leave a green legacy for the citizens of Shanghai and contribute to worldwide initiatives."

It offered "a glimpse of greener future" to the world, Achim Sterner, UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director, said at the releasing ceremony in the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination in Shanghai.

The report recommended the city use more renewable energy rather than largely depending on coal for electricity.

It also suggested developing a more comprehensive waste-reduction system apart from the use of landfill and mechanical-biological treatment plants.

The city needed to tackle the nitrification of the river system, it said.

It urged the city government and the Expo organizer to activate public participation in environmental protection.

Sterner hoped the city would "turn its modernization into a green example for urban development of the future."


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