China wants to stop ecology damaging projects

Strict environmental impact assessments hold the key to reversing the appalling environmental degradation that is harming China's development, said Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Zhou had asked environmental protection workers to be strict in approving construction projects and stringent in inspections, while maintaining efficiency, openness and transparency, the report said.

Officials denied approval for 1,190 out of 55,000 construction projects evaluated in the last two years, the report said.

Last year, the environment agency ordered the suspension of 30 big construction projects for alleged violations of conservation safeguards. Some were allowed to continue, according to local reports.

There have been increasing reports of violent protests over water and air pollution, often blamed for destroying crops and fisheries and causing health problems, according to the AP.

Zhou's remarks reflects public pressure for stronger action against rampant pollution that has ravaged China's environment during 25 years of breakneck industrialization.