Political Report

Hu advocates 'conservation culture' in speech

BEIJING -- China will promote conservation culture while moving to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, said Hu Jintao when delivering a political report at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is believed to be the first time that China calls for conservation culture in a keynote political document.

"(We will) promote a conservation culture by basically forming an energy- and resource-efficient and environment-friendly structure of industries, pattern of growth and mode of consumption, " said Hu at the opening ceremony of the CPC National Congress.

"Awareness of conservation will be firmly established in the whole of society," Hu said.

Hu added that China will have a large-scale circular economy and considerably increase the proportion of renewable energy sources in total energy consumption, bring the discharge of major pollutants under effective control and notably improve ecological and environmental quality.

Hu said China's economic growth is realized at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment, before listing other difficulties and problems that hinder China's development.

"We must give prominence to building a resource-conserving, environment-friendly society in our strategy for industrialization and modernization and get every organization and family to act accordingly," Hu said.

A report released last month by the national environment watchdog said China's overall environmental situation is still " serious" with frequent pollution accidents affecting the quality of life for many people. Last year, 842 pollution accidents were reported, including 482 water pollution cases, 232 air pollution cases, 45 cases caused by solid waste, 10 in the ocean and six involving noise and vibration damage.

The Chinese mainland saw the discharges of sulfur dioxide in 2006 reach 25.89 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 1.5 percent, the governmental report said.

In September last year, two chemical plants in central China's Hunan Province illegally discharged a highly toxic arsenic compound into a tributary of China's second largest freshwater lake, Dongting Lake, leading to the suspension of water supplies to at least 80,000 local residents for a week.

And a severe algae outbreak in the Taihu Lake at the end of May this year rendered tap water undrinkable for a week for half of the 2.3 million residents in Wuxi, a city in eastern Jiangsu Province.

China failed to achieve its goals of reducing energy consumption and controlling pollution in 2006.

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