The State Council will oversee the mainland's first nationwide survey on pollution sources to feed into a national database, information that scientists hope to use for research on the environment. A notice posted online this week by the council said the survey was scheduled for 2008, and would investigate sources of industrial, agricultural and urban pollution. It will involve the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa), the National Bureau of Statistics and local governments. Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan will be in charge of the survey, assisted by council vice-secretary Zhang Ping , Sepa director Zhou Shengxian and National Bureau of Statistics chief Xie Fuzhan . The State Council's notice provided no technical details of how the assessments would be carried out, saying only that more detailed plans would be developed before the end of next year. Sepa will publish the collected data in 2009. The notice stressed the effort was part of the country's 11th Five-Year Programme to reduce output of major pollutants by 10 per cent. Peking University environmental science professor Zhang Shiqiu said several surveys had been conducted since the late 1990s, but they were carried out by Sepa. The State Council's greater authority and resources meant the 2008 assessment should be more comprehensive and effective, Professor Zhang said. She said the survey would address environmental issues on the mainland at the most fundamental level. Professor Zhang said the public had a right to know more about the state of the nation's ecosystem and it was impossible to promote environmental protection without public awareness. The survey will not only be conducted in industrial areas and cities, but also in places where large-scale animal farms are concentrated. Animal waste has become a serious pollution source in China. The survey will be funded from government budgets of all levels. The final results are expected to be published in 2009. The announcement of the survey comes as Xinhua quoted deputy Sepa director Zhang Lijun as saying that almost half of China's cities were polluted to a medium or heavy degree.