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Huge emission cuts needed to get back blue sky: minister

2015-03-07 17:03 chinadaily.com.cn Web Editor: Sun Tian

Authorities have to bring down the emissions of major pollutants from 10 million tons to one million if the country wants its sky to return to blue, said Chen Jining, China's newly appointed minister of environmental protection. [Special coverage]

Chen made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, in Beijing on Saturday.

He said the target can be reached although the government will face great difficulties.

He promised that the ministry will spare no effort to implement the revised Environmental Protection Law, which came into effect this year.

Chen, an environmental scientist and former president of Tsinghua University, assumed the position a week before the sessions, namely the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, kicked off on March 5.

He said the first thing he does since becoming the minister is to look at the sky to see if it is smoggy or not.

More than 80 percent of about 300 cities failed to meet the official standard of air quality last year, with smog frequently hitting the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas as well as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, said Chen.

The government plans to strengthen the implementation of the revised environmental protection law and raise the capacity of pollution control, he said.

He said the authorities will also ensure information transparency and protect the public's right to know, participate in and supervise the fight against air pollution.

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