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to be reassessed >>> China will use a weekend meeting on climate change to demonstrate its sincerity in reducing carbon emissions >>> Europe’s SMOS spacecraft is returning valuable new data on the way water is cycled around the globe >>>China and the European Union agreed to hold regular talks to strengthen collaboration and deepen understanding on climate change >>>Premier Wen Jiabao promised “all-out efforts” to rebuild the Yushu region of Qinghai province >>> Salvage crews began pumping oil from a Chinese coal-carrying ship stuck on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef >>> US president Barack Obama announced plans for expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to win support for new climate-change proposals >>> The international mining giant Rio Tinto says it has signed a deal with China to develop a massive iron-ore mine in Guinea >>> Rich countries are “importing” about a third of their CO2 emissions >>> China is starting to prepare for the commercial and strategic 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The demand for environmental technologies in China has been experiencing rapid growth since the roll out of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2011.

There has been an increasing public awareness of environmental pollution in the country and the current Five-Year Plan is working to address those concerns. Some of the key goals set out by the state include: the improvement of water treatment, the reduction of major air pollutants, and the reversal of environmental degradation.

Now is a key time for foreign companies to move into this growing market. However, the entry into the market is not easy, requiring significant time and the local personnel.

 Sometimes, a better approach is the formation of a partnership between companies. Chinese companies are eager to gain the knowledge that other nations have to offer, while they are better able to adapt it to meet the demands of the local market.

There are five areas of the environmental technologies market that should be of major interest to foreign companies in the years ahead: drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, air pollution solutions, soil remediation, and cement plant pollution reduction.

Access to potable water is a major concern in many areas of China. The issues that need to be overcome include water scarcity, the uneven distribution of water across the country, and heavy pollution of water sources.

One goal of the 12th Five-Year Plan is to reduce industrial water use by 30 percent from 2011 to 2015.  This presents an opportunity for companies to provide products that address the water efficiency needs of the industrial sector.
With many of China’s major cities located on the coast, there is also a major market for desalination technologies. During the 12th Five-Year Plan, the desalination industry is projected to have a compound growth rate of 20 percent. Up to RMB 10 billion are expected to be invested into desalinization projects in China by 2015.

There is currently a great need for growth and new technologies in the wastewater treatment sector. The industry is comprised of low-cost but unsustainable disposal methods. There is a need for the implementation of more advanced technologies in the treatment and reuse of industrial and municipal wastewater, sludge treatment and gray water recycling initiatives.
 
At present, there are many barriers to entry into the wastewater market due to lack of government regulations, rising operation costs and intellectual property disputes. For those who can overcome these barriers, there are opportunities to develop waste resources into a source of energy generation as well as the potential to recycle wastewater for industrial reuse.

 The number of days of haze caused by air pollution has been steadily increasing in China’s major cities. With this, greater public awareness has been created of air pollution issues. The state is now committed to monitoring and resolving air pollution issues across the country.

This new awareness and government enforced pollutant reduction programs has created a budding market for clean air solutions. All industries will need to reduce their outputs of carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, volatile organic compounds, and other particulates in order to fall within acceptable levels. Companies that can provide portable monitoring systems, air quality control devices and industrial process solutions are in high demand.
According to the Nanjing Soil Research Institute’s report, there is over six millions tons of metal slag from chemical and pesticide production that is lacking appropriate containment. This slag is able to mix with rain and soil, polluting the surrounding land.

The state has issued plans aimed to improve China’s soil contamination problems. New protection systems and standards will be implemented in order to reduce the rate of soil pollution. Companies will now need to identify how they will reduce soil pollution rates before they begin a new construction project.

It is predicted that even more focus will be placed on soil remediation in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). This will mean new opportunities for companies who can provide the equipment necessary for remediation projects. Companies that can contribute their working knowledge on assessment and remediation standards will also be highly valued.

One industry that needs improvement in its environmental practices is China's cement industry which is growing at a rapid pace. The U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s China Energy Analysis Group has produced a new benchmarking tool for best practices in the cement industry. These new standards will require new equipment and technology, to improve cement kiln combustion efficiency, in order to reduce air pollutants and the release of hazards dioxins/furans.

China’s market for environmental technologies is predicted to grow larger in all areas following the implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan. Foreign companies are likely to play a major role in bringing new technology and ideas into the market in order to fill the demand.