BEIJING (Reuters) - China will add two new pollution indicators to its emission control list and set a new target to curb emissions this year, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.
The additions -- ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxide -- expand the list of China’s major pollutants monitoring list to four in accordance with China’s environmental protection plan from 2011 to 2015, Xinhua said.
Ammonia nitrogen -- a measure of water quality -- is a byproduct from rare earth mines, while nitrogen oxide is mainly discharged from power plants and vehicles.
China plans to reduce its emission of these four major pollutants by 1.5 percent this year, compared to the same period a year ago, Xinhua said.
China is making a big push for cleaner growth after decades of breakneck expansion, which has taken a toll on the environment.
China already monitors sulphur dioxide, which causes acid rain, and chemical oxygen demand, which is considered a reliable indicator of the amount of chemical waste discharged into rivers.
Xinhua quoted Zhou Shengxian, minister of environmental protection, as saying on Thursday at a national meeting on 2010 environmental protection that “while experiencing quick economic development, the country is also facing increasing energy consumption and rising heavy metal, soil, dangerous waste and chemical pollution.”
China will impose higher pollutant emission standards for paper-making, textiles, leather, chemical plants and other heavy-polluting industries, Xinhua said, citing Zhou.
China has already reduced emissions of major pollutants by 10 percent below 2005 levels, meeting its target a year ahead of schedule, Xinhua said on Monday.
China plans to reduce carbon intensity -- the amount of CO2 produced per unit of GDP -- by 40-45 percent by 2020.
Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Editing by William Hardy