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Environmental protection urged amid economic slowdown

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BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Governments and enterprises should hold on to emission reduction efforts despite cooling economy and resist the temptation of spurring economy through energy-inefficient industrial projects, officials and experts said Saturday.

"We need to refrain from using the current economic slowdown as an excuse to loosen the environmental protection standards for mega projects with high energy consumption and high emission," Sun Youhai, a researcher with the China Institute of Applied Jurisprudence said at a forum on recycling economy held here Saturday.

Sun said some provinces have already failed their annual emission-reduction targets, thus making the country's environmental protection even more difficult in the future.

According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the investment demand in the environmental protection sector will be about 3.4 trillion yuan (539.68 billion U.S. dollars) in the 12th Five-year Plan period ending 2015.

"The environmental protection industry itself has a promising future," Bie Tao, deputy director of the ministry's policies and laws department told the forum.

He said the ministry has approved plans on over 6,000 water pollution prevention and control projects across the country by 2015, with a total investment of 346 billion yuan.

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