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China’s Environmental Protection 12th Five Year Plan

March 4th, 2009 · 3 Comments

Planning is beginning for the development of the new 12th Five Year Environmental Protection Plan.  The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has published a notice (Chinese only) soliciting participation in research projects on various topics that will make up the components of that plan. 

There are 25 topics in all and they provide some insight into what issues will take center stage from 2011- 2015 on the environmental front in China.  CELB comments are bolded.

1. Research on the Concepts, Ideas and Policy Innovation under the Twelfth Five-Year Environmental Protection Plan.

2. Research on Environmental Plan Preparation, Implementation and Planning System Innovation.

3. Research on Resources, Energy, Environmental and Economic Forecasts for Pilot Provinces.

4. Research on the Environmental Requirements Based on the All-round, Well-off Society Target in 2020 under the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

5. Research on Key Areas and their Roadmaps under the Twelfth Five-year Environmental Protection Plan.

6. Research on the Relationship between Circular Economy and the Twelfth Five-year Environmental Protection Plan.

7. Research on Perfection and Optimization of the Discharge Total Control System and its Supportive Policies.

8. Research on Water Environment Management Concepts for Key River Basins (in addition to COD, this section specifically mentions the establishment of load control objectives for phosphorous and nitrogen).

9. Research on Pilot Projects of Water System Management for Typical Rivers (this item specifically mentions development of TMDL-based water discharge limits).

10. Research on Pilot Projects of Drinking Water Source Protection and Management for Typical Provinces.

11. Preliminary Research on Water Pollution Prevention and Treatment Planning for Offshore Areas.

12. Research on Evaluation of Atmospheric Environment Quality and Monitoring Status.

13. Research on the Design and Framework of Air Pollution Prevention and Treatment Plan and the Planning Indicator System (this item seems to envision the establishment of a regional management framework to regulate major air pollutants and air toxics, and there is even a reference to Greenhouse Gas Emissions).

14: Research on Target Determination and Allocation Method with Respect to Major Air Pollutant Discharge Total Control for Typical Provinces.

15. Research on Nitrogen-Oxide Pollution Prevention and Treatment Approaches and Total Control Method (look for NOx total load based limits similar to those imposed for SO2 now).

16. Research on Joint Prevention and Treatment Programs for Regional Air Pollution and Air Quality Management Mechanism.

17. Research on Target Indicators for Ecological and Rural Environment Protection under the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

18. Research on Priorities and Approaches for Soil Pollution Prevention and Treatment under the Twelfth Five Year Plan.

19. Preliminary Research on Solid Waste Pollution Prevention and Treatment Planning under the Twelfth Five Year Plan (the notice correctly identifies “solid waste management” as the “weak link” in China’s environmental protection scheme).

20. Preliminary Research on Hazardous Chemicals Risk Prevention and Control Planning.

21. Preliminary Research on Environment Planning in International Treaty Performance.

22. Case Studies on Plans for Key Areas for National Environmental Monitoring Capabilities Building.

23. Research on Environmental Protection Policies for Steel, Iron and Chemical Industries.

24. Research on Public Finance and Financial Contribution to Environmental Protection.

25. Research on the Implementation and Assessment Mechanism for Environmental Protection Plans.

What’s most striking to me is the almost complete absence of any discussions of carbon emissions.  I know that the MEP is not the lead agency for China’s participation in climate negotiations.  But they will have a role in implementing any agreements reached.  So far, at least, MEP does not seem to be engaged in planning for carbon reduction eventualities over the 2011-2015 period.

If you are interested in submitting a bid to undertake any of the projects listed above, download relevant materials from the designated areas at these websites ( or ). Get your bids in by March 11, 2009 and if you’re a winner you will be notified by March 16, 2009.  Contracts will be signed March 20, 2009, draft reports are to be submitted by the end of August, 2009 and final reports are due “prior to October, 2009.”  Good luck!

Tags: MEP · environmental policy

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 george // Mar 5, 2009 at 1:12 am

    for NO.16, wouldn’t be the title ‘… for regional atmospheric pollution and the air quality management mechanism’ ?

  • 2 Peter Maier // Mar 5, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Laws and regulations are necessary, but when they are based on faulty test data, they will be worthless, as we have experienced in the Western World, when most regulations were based on a faulty pollution test.

    This test, called the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand ) test measures how much oxygen (C-BOD) is used by heterotrophic bacteria using carbonaceous (fecal) waste and how much oxygen (N-BOD) is used by autotrophic bacteria using nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste, while the entire test will take 30 days at 20 degrees Celsius.

    When the test was developed around 1920 in England, they found that (using very fresh wastewater) during the first 5 days only heterotrophic bacteria were active (using oxygen) and that the use of oxygen by autotrophic bacteria was only after 6 to 8 days and also could be calculated by applying another faster nitrogen test, hence one did not have to wait more then 5 days to be able to calculate the total BOD (C-BOD + N-BOD) with only the 5-day reading (BOD5) and the nitrogen test. In general 40% of the total BOD is nitrogenous and 60% is carbonaceous in raw sewage.

    Later it became common worldwide to use only the 5-day reading of the test without any nitrogen data and many assumed that this represented all the pollution that exerts an biochemical oxygen demand, while it in fact only represents 40% of the total BOD.
    When the USEPA in 1973 implemented the Clean Water Act (CWA) it set treatment standards solely based on BOD5 only and this caused all types of problems, among them that it was impossible to evaluate the real performances of sewage treatment plants and that consequently many used engineering cost benefit analysis were based on not only faulty, but often misleading data.

    If the test would have been applied, as so clearly described in the old literature, we quickly would have found out that simple oxidation ditches, not only treat sewage with a true 95 to 98% efficiency, compared to conventional sewage treatment plants (actually only odor control facilities) with a 50 to 70% efficiency, but that could be built and operated for half the cost.

    Especially the lack of treatment requirements for nitrogenous waste has been disastrous, since this waste besides exerting a biochemical oxygen demand , in all its forms is a fertilizer for algae and thus responsible for the eutrophication and dead zones in open waterways.

    Although the international engineering community is (or should be) aware of this, it still refuses to correct this essential test, mainly because it would require a re-education and re-tooling of the entire wastewater treatment industry, that presently obviously prefers the status quo because it can not be held accountable.

  • 3 cmcelwee // Mar 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    @george: Thanks for the better translation!

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