China pledges investment to tackle pollution

BEIJING, Aug 25, 2007 (AFP) – China will invest more than 1.33 billion yuan (176 million dollars) to clean up the environment after decades of frantic economic growth, state media said Saturday. The money will be earmarked mainly for monitoring and reducing pollutant emissions, and for a new system of emission trading, the China Daily reported, citing Vice Finance Minister Zhang Hongli.

Emission trading allows companies that emit more pollutants than they should to buy the right to carry out extra emissions from companies that pollute less than they are allowed to.

China’s economy is booming but at a huge environmental cost, with up to 70 percent of its waterways polluted and air quality in its biggest cities among the world’s worst.

The problem has come to the world’s attention especially during the countdown for next year’s Beijing Olympics, amid warnings that some events may have to be rescheduled if the air quality drops below acceptable levels.