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95% of Chinese cities failed to meet environmental standards: Minister

Saturday, 8 March 2014 - 1:17pm IST | Place: Beijing | Agency: Reuters

  • A woman wears a face mask in Beijing on January 16,2014. The Chinese capital has faced rising pollution levels, and the city is often shrouded in acrid smog. Recently, a count of small particulate pollution reached more than 20 times recommended levels. AFP

Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet environmental standards, Wu Xiaoqing, China's vice-minister of environmental protection, said on Saturday.

Out of the 74 cities that Beijing monitored, 71 had various degrees of problems, Wu said at a news conference at the sidelines of the annual parliament session in Beijing.

The environment has emerged as one of Beijing's key priorities amid growing public disquiet about urban smog, dwindling and polluted water supplies and the widespread industrial contamination of farmland.

China's environmental policy goals also serve a wider agenda, aimed at diversifying and "upgrading" the country's resource-intensive economy.

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