( AFP ) - China, which is facing serious environmental problems due to its booming economic growth, will next month launch its first nationwide survey to identify pollution sources, state media said Saturday.
The survey, to be completed in the first half of 2008, will assess the sources of industrial, agricultural and residential pollution, said Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration.
The results will be revealed in the first half of 2009, Zhou told a meeting of the State Council, or cabinet, on Friday, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The data "will be an important basis for environmental protection" and "an important step toward an environment-friendly society," Xinhua quoted Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan as telling the same meeting.
China's booming growth has ravaged the environment, with about 70 percent of its waterways polluted and urban air quality among the worst in the world.
The Asian giant is second only to the United States in greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change.
While the fight against pollution is officially one of the Beijing government's top goals, local authorities often tend to favour economic growth over environmental protection.
In a commentary published Saturday, the People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party, called on all regional and local administrations to fully participate in the survey.
Zhou said Friday that the census results "will not be linked to any punishment or evaluation of the performance of local administrations," calling on officials to provide "true, credible" data.