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Official admits pollution is still bad

LAKES, rivers and the air in many places in China are still polluted, some seriously, in spite of efforts to control pollution, a Chinese environmental official said yesterday.

Zhang Lijun, deputy minister of environmental protection, said environmental protection departments across the country should press businesses harder to control pollution.

"The general environmental situation does not allow us to be optimistic," Zhang told a national meeting on pollution control in Shanghai.

"The fundamental way to overcome this is to continue to press companies to reduce pollution emissions."

A national report on China's environment, issued by the ministry in November, said among some 320 cities of prefecture level and above, the air quality of 39.5 percent of the cities averaged at level III or lower.

For monitoring particulate matter and sulfur dioxide, the China Environmental Monitoring Center ranks air quality in five levels, ranging from level I (excellent), through level III (slightly polluted), to level V (hazardous).


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