Several ministry-level departments, including those responsible for transport, ecology and environment, and development and reform, have recently responded to issues of public concern.
Sewage outlet inspections on Yangtze, tributaries
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment will complete inspections of all sewage outlets on the Yangtze River and rivers and streams that flow into it before the end of this year, ministry spokesman Liu Youbin said on Oct 29.
Liu told a news briefing the inspection work was being conducted in three phases.
In the first phase, the ministry inspected sewage outlets on the Yangtze and its tributaries in Chongqing and the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guizhou, and Yunnan in September.
He said the second phase, involving Shanghai and the provinces of Hubei and Anhui, was expected to start this month, covering about 8,000 kilometers of the riverbank.
The third phase, to start next month, will involve the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan, and Sichuan and cover about 9,000 km of the riverbank.
The inspection will help lay a foundation for monitoring and managing the sewage outlets, Liu said.
Improvement of business environment on agenda
China will make more efforts to deepen reforms and continuously improve its business environment, Lin Nianxiu, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Oct 28.
Speaking at a meeting held to exchange related experiences, Liu said a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment was of great significance for enhancing the vitality of market entities, improving the government's capacity for governance and promoting a higher level of opening-up.
Lin also stressed the need to build a coordinated, efficient and cooperative governance mechanism, establish and improve fair, open and transparent market rules, provide equal, convenient, efficient and intelligent public services, deepen reform, strengthen the rule of law and focus on boosting the business environment nationwide.
According to the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 report, China's ranking climbed to 31 this year from 46 last year, and the country was also among the 10 economies with the biggest improvement in terms of their business environment for the second year in a row.
Two-year campaign for better school toilets
China has launched a two-year campaign to ensure primary and secondary schools have safe, clean and environmentally friendly toilets, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Oct 30.
The campaign would make toilets in rural schools in central and western regions the priority, a notice jointly released by the NDRC and the Ministry of Education said.
It also required efforts to specify pragmatic solutions for each school according to their conditions and avoid uncompleted or impractical projects.
China launched a "toilet revolution" in 2015 to increase the number and standard of toilets at tourist sites. The campaign was later expanded to improve public toilets in cities and build better private toilets in rural areas.
Cleaner fuel for ships on international routes
Ships on international routes will not be allowed to use fuel with a sulfur content higher than 0.5 percent in Chinese waters from Jan 1, according to a plan released by the Ministry of Transport's Maritime Safety Administration on Oct 25.
According to the plan, ships that enter the emission control areas of rivers in the Pearl River Delta, Yangtze River Delta and rivers entering the Bohai Sea will be forbidden from using fuel with a sulfur content higher than 0.1 percent. That restriction will also apply to the waters of Hainan province in 2022.
In order to implement the International Maritime Organization's guidance on sulfur limits, the plan clarifies the measures to be taken in dealing with ships that do not meet fuel standards, establishes a nationwide system to report information about ship fuel, and strengthens the supervision of ships on international routes arriving in Chinese waters.
According to official data, last year's sulfur oxide emissions from ships in emission control areas were down by 160,000 metric tons compared with those in 2015.
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