China Ranks Among World's Most Wasteful Users Of Resources

A study by the Chinese Academy of Science, released March 1, ranked China 56 out of 59 countries surveyed, making it one of the most wasteful users of resources. Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Britain, Holland and Norway ranked among the most the most efficient users of resources.

China's inefficiency in the use of five major commodities -- energy, water, cement, steel and non-ferrous metal -- was 1.9 times higher than the global average level in 2003, the report said.

"This proves that China has not fundamentally broken away from its economic growth model that relies on the intensive use of natural resources," the academy said. The academy warned that risks continued to exist in the development of a sustainable economic model, while China's goal of creating an eco-friendly economy was currently "not feasible".

The State Council, or China's cabinet, announced last month that environmental improvements, including the control of water, air and soil pollution, would be a major national priority over the next 15 years. But the academy urged leaders to take more comprehensive reform measures that would aggressively promote a viable economic growth model, while shifting towards greater technological innovation.

The academy's index measuring China's pollution and efficient resource use found that 2003 compared better than 1980. But, after improvements in the 1980s, China entered a sustained period of wastefulness amid the near double-digit growth of the 1990s.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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