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Zhou Shengxian Chairs MEP Executive Meeting

MEP Minister Zhou Shengxian chaired MEP executive meeting on May10 in Beijing. The meeting conveyed the spirit of several important speeches made recently by Xi Jinping and other top leaders. The participants listened to a report on the target assessment results of total emission reduction of major pollutants in 2012, deliberated and adopted Ecological Protection Plan for Lakes with Sound Ecosystems (2011-2020) (hereinafter referred to as Plan), Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (China StageV), and the opinions on the examination and approval of the environmental impact assessment for some construction projects and some enterprises'export application for hazardous wastes.

Zhou said that, the recent speeches, especially those instructions and requirements on environmental protection issues, made by Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Gaoli and other top leaders are very important, as they have created favorable conditions and charted the course for environmental work. To meet the new requirements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, as well as the new expectations from the people on environmental work, our national environmental protection system, with a strong sense of political responsibility and mission, should grasp the overall situation, live up to our responsibility and unswervingly implement the ten tasks identified in the National Conference on Environmental Protection held at the beginning of this year. By taking pollution reduction as our top priority, we shall give prominence to key environmental tasks such as air pollution prevention, particularly control of PM2.5, water pollution prevention and control, contiguous rural environmental treatment, soil pollution prevention and control. We shall assure the CPC Central Committee and give the people confidence and hope through our concrete action.

During the meeting, Zhou indicated that, in order to fulfill the objectives of emission reduction and in line with the provisions of the Measures for Assessing Total Emission Reduction of Major Pollutants during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period , MEP had teamed up with National Development and Reform Commission, National Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Supervision to carry out the assessment on the target completion status of total emission reduction of major pollutants, the building and operation of statistical, monitoring and assessment system, as well as the implementation of each measure in 2012 in all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and eight state-owned enterprises. According to the assessment results, the total discharge of COD was 24.237 million tons, down 3.05% year-on-year; NH3 emission was 2.536 million tons, down 2.62% year-on-year; SO2 emission was 21.176 million tons, down 4.52% year-on-year; NOx emission was 23.378 million tons, down 2.77% year-on-year.Compared with the targets set for 2012, we have achieved the annual emission reduction targets for all four pollutants. Especially, in contrast to an increase of 5.73% in 2011, NOx emission reached a turning point, therefore, we have achieved a favorable situation of year-on-year decline in the four pollutants. However, in terms of total emission reduction, there still existed some prominent problems in a few regions and enterprises. The meeting participants considered that the Report on the Assessment Results of Total Emission Reduction Targets of Major Pollutants in 2012 completely and accurately reflects the implementation of emission reduction work nationwide. The assessment results will be made public after being submitted to and approved by the State Council.

The meeting participants believed that lakes are important ecological resources of our country, and major part of the natural eco-system with many eco-service functions such as providing water resources and conserving biodiversity. Since the Ninth Five-Year Plan period, we have carried out large-scale treatment in highly polluted Taihu Lake, Chaohu Lake and Dianchi Lake (hereinafter referred to as "Three Lakes"), prominent achievements have thus been made in containing the deterioration of water quality. Since 2011, Ministry of Finance and MEP have launched ecological protection pilot projects in lakes with sound ecosystems, taking preventive measures over unpolluted lakes and implementing emergency protective measures on slightly polluted lakes. These pilot projects have received great attention from local governments and positive responses from the people, and realized environment and social benefits. However, it should be noted that the practice of "treatment after pollution" is very costly and some lakes with sound ecosystems are faced with threats such as the annual increase of in-lake pollution load, shrinking and ecological degradation. It is necessary to compile the Plan on the basis of a review of our practical experience, in order to fully implement the strategic thinking of "rehabilitating rivers and lakes" put forward by the central committee and the gist of "building ecological civilization and a beautiful China" proposed by the 18th National Congress of CPC, establish a long-term mechanism for lake protection, promote ecological protection of lakes with sound ecosystems in an orderly manner and jointly form a complete and overall eco-protection planning system for Three Lakes and other heavily polluted lakes. The Plan provides an overview of lakes in our country. Regarding eco-protection of lakes with sound ecosystems, the Plan analyzes the situation, put forward the guidelines, basic principles, the scope and duration of planning, objectives and its indicator system, and the strategy of exercising protection by zones. It defines major tasks such as investigating and assessing ecological safety of lakes, adjusting the industrial structure and layout, strengthening pollution prevention and control, carrying out ecological conservation, rationally utilizing water and soil resources, and improving capacity building of supervision and administration in lake basins. It also lists the corresponding guarantee measures. The meeting decided that the Plan will be submitted to the State Council for examination and approval after further revision.

The meeting indicated that, since the implementation of Stage I Emission Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles in 2000, China has launched Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III emission standards. The current applicable standards are the Stage Ⅳ standards specified in the "Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (China Stage Ⅲ, Ⅳ)"(GB18352.3-2005). The implementation of these standards has curbed the momentum of rapid increase of total emissions from motor vehicles in a timely manner, and thus played an important role in improving air quality of our country. However, with the rapid development of the national economy and people’s improved living standards, both China’s light-duty vehicle production and ownership have increased rapidly, and emissions from light-duty vehicles is accordingly becoming the major source of air pollution in the metropolis. In order to implement the Environmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution, and fulfill the spirit of the newly revised Ambient Air Quality Standard as well as other relevant regulations and policies, it is necessary to amend the current Stage Ⅳ standards on the basis of a review of our practical experience, so as to further reduce the amount of pollution discharged by a single motor vehicle, prevent and control pollution caused by motor vehicle emissions, and improve ambient air quality. The revised Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (China StageⅤ) standards specify type-approval requirements, as well as the inspection and judging methods of the conformity of production and the compliance test of in-use vehicle in the fifth stage. Compared with the Stage IV emission standards, StageⅤnot only adds new pollutant control items but also tightens various technical requirements and emission limits. The meeting decided that the Limits and Measurement Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles (China Stage Ⅴ) standards will be jointly promulgated and implemented by MEP and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine after further revision.

After extensive discussion, the meeting approved the opinions on the examination and approval of the environmental impact assessment for Shuangjiangkou hydropower station project on Dadu River in Sichuan Province and the export application for hazardous waste by Jingmen Gelinmei New Materials Co., Ltd. and Sanyo Energy (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.

Vice Ministers of MEP Wu Xiaoqing, Zhou Jian, Li Ganjie and Zhai Qing, head of discipline inspection group Zhou Ying, member of our leading Party members'group He Jie, Chief Engineer Wan Bentai and Chief Engineer on Nuclear Safety Xu Qinghua participated in the meeting.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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