Vice Minister Wu Xiaoqing said the amount of oxynitride emissions in 2011 indicates the government failed to meet its goal of reducing such emissions by 1.5 percent, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.
A total of 24.04 million tons of oxynitride were emitted last year, 5.73 percent more than in 2010, an environmental report issued jointly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Land and Resources said.
Rural areas were the hardest hit, as the acceleration of agricultural industrialization and the integration of urban and rural areas has increased pollution discharges in those regions, the report said.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection began monitoring pollutants in 364 rural villages in 2011 and found 21.5 percent of soil samples from these villages failed to meet national soil quality standards, it said.
"The MEP will pass the survey results on to the State Council and publish the results at the proper time," Wu said.
As of 2011, the government had spent $1.26 billion to protect the environment in rural areas, Wu said.