BEIJING Nearly two-thirds of Chinese cities
suffered from air pollution last year and had no centralized
sewage treatment facilities, state media reported on Tuesday.
Only 37.6 percent of 585 cities surveyed had air quality
"indicating a clean and healthy environment," down 7.3
percentage points from 2005, the China Daily said, citing a
report by the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
Thirty-nine cities, many scattered across the northern
coal-rich province of Shanxi and China's northeastern rustbelt
province of Liaoning, suffered "severe" air pollution, the
"The report also found that the ratio of quality water in
the major urban areas, either for drinking or industrial use,
had dropped by 7.24 percent," the paper said.
Two hundred cities had no "centralized sewage management
system" and 187 had no garbage disposal plants, it said.
The government planned to have at least 70 percent of
sewage and at least 60 percent of garbage treated effectively
by 2010, but "the environment issue remains of serious concern
and there is difficulty realizing the goal," the paper quoted
the report as saying.
The report comes as the capital Beijing on Tuesday was
shrouded in thick smog, which local media said was exacerbated
by smoke blown into the city from crop burning in neighboring
On Monday night, an index measuring air pollution from
Beijing's southern Daxing county read over 850 particles of
"particulate matter" per square meter, which was eight times
the norm, the Beijing News said.