Environmental pollution in China will finally begin to fall this year, the vice minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said Tuesday, AFP reported. "We should see a turning point … this year," Zhang Lijun said during a briefing to mark World Environment Day. "This will be the first time in many years that we will see a drop in the overall volume in emissions of major pollutants." China has targeted reducing sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen emissions – two of the main contributors to pollution – by 10% between 2006 and 2010. However, last year discharges of the two gases increased by 1.8% and 1.2% respectively. Zhang said that, despite this setback, meeting the 2010 target "should not be a problem." He cited the installation of sulfur-removing equipment in coal-fired power plants, which has risen to 30% in 2006 from just 12% in 2005, as evidence of China's progress. Meanwhile, authorities have ordered the closure of heavily polluting industries around Tai Lake, the third-largest freshwater lake in the country. More than 2 million people were left without clean water last week due to an algal bloom choking the lake.