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Chinese official urges doubling of pollution charges

China must at least double the charges it levies on waste-water discharges and gas emissions in order to control pollution, a top economic planning official said on Tuesday.
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Bi Jingquan, a vice chairman of the National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), said current rates were too low; increasing them, he said, would help Beijing’s efforts to boost energy efficiency and clean up China’s heavily polluted environment.
 
The top official responsible for utility-price reform, Bi said the fee of 0.67 yuan levied in 36 cities per tonne of waste water needed to be at least doubled. The same went for charges on garbage and sulphur dioxide emissions in order to cover costs and "to offer a reasonable profit margin for processing firms", he added.
 
China would expand pollution charges gradually from big cities to smaller towns and the countryside, Bi said, with local governments responsible for setting detailed rates.