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China links rise in pollution to fraud

China's environmental chief has blamed fraudulent environmental approvals and patchy installation of control equipment for rises in pollution, state media reported on Monday.
Pollution discharges increased in 17 provinces in the first half 2006, despite a government pledge to cut emissions 2% by the yearend, the Shanghai Daily newspaper quoted Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), as saying.

 "Fraud in project approval was prominent, with many projects passing their environmental assessment without fulfilling the necessary criteria," Zhou said.

In some counties, only 30% of projects had been checked for pollution control compliance before receiving construction licences and nearly half of firms had failed to carry out required emission-control procedures, the paper quoted Zhou as saying.

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