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China earmarks $451m to combat heavy metal


Beijing – The Chinese central government has earmarked some 2.8 billion Yuan, approximately 451 million dollars, to help 30 cities tackle heavy metal pollution over the next three years.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said the beneficiaries, 11 of which are in central China’s Hunan Province, were selected based on applications by governments of polluted areas.
The new funding arrangement was a more competitive approach than the routine mode wherein local areas waited passively for central authorities’ financial push.
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Funding criteria set by the ministries of finance and environmental protection included polluted conditions, feasibility of prevention and control projects, anti-pollution infrastructure resources, among others.
The ministry said that financial support for cities with unsatisfactory pollution control results in 2014 would be reduced.
Official statistics say 16 per cent of China’s soil and nearly 20 percent of farmland is polluted, but this may just be the tip of the iceberg.
In 2014 police arrested 23 workers at a company that poured 300,000 tonnes of toxic sludge from a leather works into a waterway in east China’s Zhejiang Province.
Central and local governments spent 41.6 billion Yuan between 2012 and 2014 on addressing heavy metal pollution. (Xinhua/NAN)

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