Dongguan city in the prosperous southern Chinese province of Guangdong has decided to close down 47 of its 48 cement plants to improve environmental conditions, Beijing Wen Wei Po reported.
The city, a manufacturing base in the Pearl River Delta, will close 33 of the plants by the end of March and another 14 by the end of 2005, the paper said without disclosing its sources.
The municipal government would pay 350m yuan (US$42.27m) in compensation for the loss of the plants, most of which produce relatively small amounts of cement but consume a large amount of resources, the paper said.
The plants also cause serious noise pollution and generate a huge amount of dust, the main cause of an increase in respiratory illnesses. However, the cement plants were generally profitable and paid 107.48m yuan in taxes in 2002.