China plans to raise pollutant and effluent charges as part of an effort to clean up the environment, said Bi Jingquan, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission. State media reported that the move is intended to push companies to be more active in cleaning up the environment by imposing greater financial burdens on those that don't. Discharge costs for sewage and for emissions of sulfur dioxide may double from the current level of about US$0.09 per ton Bi said. "There is a desperate need for the country to instill the principle that those creating pollution must pay the costs," he said. China's five-year-plan calls for cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20% between 2006 and 2010, but progress has fallen short of expectations so far.