China, in the midst of rapid industrialization, plans to invest 175 billion us dollars in environmental protection during the 11th five year plan, more than 1.5 per cent of the National GDP, the government has announced.

The money is to be spent between 2006 and 2010 on water pollution control, improving the air quality in cities, disposing solid waste, harnessing soil erosion and improving the rural environment, Deputy Head of the State Development and Reform Commission`s Environment Department, He Bingguang said. At a cost of 22.5 billion us dollars, sewage treatment facilities with a combined daily capacity of 40 million tones will be built in 10 river valleys to dispose of waste water discharged by cities, he said.

A total of 25 billion us dollars will be used to treat industrial waste water, according to the official. Part of the funds will be used to reduce the amount of Sulphur Dioxide and dust in 113 major Chinese cities. China will also set up 31 provincial-level dangerous waste disposing centres to treat domestic garbage.

According to the plan, the investment will also serve to build facilities to guarantee nuclear safety and prevent nuclear radiation. Official estimates show that the annual output value of China`s Environmental Protection Industry will top 110 billion US dollars by the end of 2010, he said.