China pushes environment forward

ChinaMinistry

China incorporates the concept of ecological civilization into economic, political, cultural and social development…. Now the Government ‘just’ needs to take the country to do the same – incorporate ecology – in everyday actions! China Daily reports

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on Friday met four foreign leaders who will attend the opening ceremony of the Eco-Forum Global Annual Conference in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province.

During the meeting with Swiss President Ueli Maurer, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, Tongan Prime Minister Siale’ataonga Tu’ivakano and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal, Zhang said the Chinese government attaches great importance to the environment.

China incorporates the concept of ecological civilization into economic, political, cultural and social development, said the vice-premier.

He added that China hopes to use the forum to popularize the concept of ecological civilization,promote international cooperation, jointly work to fight climate change and push forward global sustainable development.

Dai Bingguo, former State councilor of China, said the nation should provide assistance to other developing countries in fighting threats from ecological crises while learning from other successful countries.

Ecological restoration efforts in China will improve rapidly in the coming years, Dai said at anews conference on Friday in Guiyang, ahead of the opening ceremony of the Eco-ForumGlobal Annual Conference on Saturday.

The Chinese government considers environmental protection a high priority, he said.

Nation pushes environment forward

While it learns how to cope with ecological degradation from developed countries, China will come up with its own environmental protection methods, he said.

Dai said it is necessary for China to further decrease itsconsumption of energy and increase energy efficiency.

He said energy conservation should be further promoted totake full advantage of energy resources.

Dai said ancient Chinese culture has always attached specialsignificance to nature and sustainable development.

But the responsibility of protecting the environment does notonly fall on the Chinese government, he said.

“It’s significant that every citizen cultivate awareness andundertake the obligation of resources conservation andenvironment protection, especially young people,” he said.

Many developed countries have achieved economic growth at the cost of the environment andnatural resources, he said, adding that countries only venture to clean up the environmentafter it becomes wealthy. He said China should try its best to learn from these lessons andavoid detours.

“We need to draw from the historical lessons and end development that sacrifices theenvironment and excessively consumes resources,” he said. “An economy that harms naturalresources will only deter progress in the long term and the key is to reach a balance betweennature and economic development.

“As the economy rapidly develops, it’s time we work on boosting our ecological environment ofour habitat with all our efforts.”

zhengxin@chinadaily.com.cn

Keep It Clean!

 

Uploaded on Jun 6, 2010

‘KEEP IT CLEAN!’ is a curriculum & values-based, environmental rap song. It highlights responsibility for protecting the environment and discusses practical ways for children to help clean up the planet (with emphasis on the 3 Rs – ‘Reuse! Reduce! Recycle’!).
 © 2007 Lyrics by Nuala O’Hanlon Music by Kathryn Radloff.
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http://www.keystonecreations.com.au/k… ‘A Lesson In Every Lyric’®
Published by KEYSTONE CREATIONS Pty Ltd
* ‘KEEP IT CLEAN!’ is available as an mp3 file (Track 3) at:http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ohanlonradloff3

China determined to fight air pollution

airpollution

During Expo, Shanghai skies became blue – proving change ‘is’ possible!

“Everyone breathing should act, said the State Council, which just hit the point of all environmental issues in China. ” China Daily 

 

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, adopted a set of concrete measures to counter air pollution on Friday, demonstrating not only resolve but also action to cope with environmental issues. CHINA DAILY reports

China’s leadership has repeatedly promised all-out efforts to conserve resources and curb pollution.

The key report at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last November put promoting ecological progress as a long-term task of vital importance to the people’s wellbeing and China’s future.

At a study session with members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in late May, President Xi Jinping also pledged that China will not sacrifice the environment for temporary economic growth.

The State Council’s latest policies of reducing air pollution can be regarded as an implementation of the principles.

They also showed that the government has a clear understanding of the nature of environmental issues in China.

As the State Council statement said on Friday, reducing air pollution is about people’s welfare and the country’s economic future.

On one hand, smog is visible and affects the life of everyone, rich and poor. It has proven that environmental crises can stir controversy and greatly undermine social stability.

On the other hand, it is closely related to transforming the economic growth pattern and promoting urbanization, the two most important issues in government work.

The country’s biggest environmental issues are linked to its fast but extensive economic development.

There will be one answer to two questions if the country finds the way to realize an eco-friendly and sustainable growth.

Friday’s policies are largely about restraining energy-consuming and polluting industries, transforming energy structure and harsher punishment on polluters. But it also included efforts to enhance legislation, transparency of environmental information, government efficiency and coordination of governments at different levels.

These are as important as direct environmental policies, if not more important.

According to the State Council, provincial governments will be assessed on their performance in reducing air pollution, and smog will be considered a public emergency to which local governments have to respond.

Environmental issues need comprehensive efforts from all sectors, particularly local governments. Their initiative is the vital for implementing the policies and supervising enterprises. Friday’s policies urged them to act.

Everyone breathing should act, said the State Council, which just hit the point of all environmental issues in China.

Compiled by NAEEUK cochair Henricus Peters

WILDLIFE : China’s nature reserves exceed global average

The size of nature reserves in China reached almost 15 percent of the country’s total land areaby the end of 2012, exceeding the global average of 12 percent. China Daily reports

Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, announced the figure at a celebration ofthe 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday.

China's nature reserves exceed global average

Swans and tens of thousands of rare migrant birds spend the winter in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve inYongxiu county, Jiangxi province. China has established 286 national nature reserves in the past 20years. Duan Changzheng / for China Daily

The figure has grown from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 14.9 percent today. The number of national-level nature reserves has increased from 77 to 363, marking the achievements the Chinesegovernment has made to promote biodiversity since the country signed the United NationsConvention on Biological Diversity 20 years ago.

“Setting up nature reserves is seen as the core measure in biodiversity conservation to preventthe current loss of species and habitats,” said Zhang Shigang, country coordinator of theUnited Nations Environment Program China.

That’s why the theme of the 2013 International Day for Biodiversity in China is “biodiversity andnature reserves”, while the international theme is “water and biodiversity”.

“The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment indicates that in the past 50 years, 60percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded. Loss of biodiversity reduces our food,medicine, clean air and water. The ecosystem that human beings rely on is fragile,” said ZhangXinsheng, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Council.

“China has very rich biodiversity of its own,” he said. “The 2012 IUCN Red List cites over 5,000plant and animal species living in China, and of those nearly 1,000 species are under threat.”

Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the United Nations Development Program China,said the natural capital of biodiversity has been greatly overused during the country’s pursuit ofeconomic development, and if China’s development is to be sustainable in the long term, itmust conserve biodiversity as its ecological base.

“The challenge both in China and globally is in harmonizing economic growth with thepreservation of the integrity of natural capital. More particularly in China, the challenge is toreconcile the conservation of this country’s rich ecosystems with the demands of development,which has already lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty,” Haverman said.

He said the UNDP appreciates and supports the significant efforts for biodiversity conservationundertaken in recent years by the Chinese government.

The government has given conservation of biodiversity high priority, according to Vice-MinisterLi.

The China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2030,released in September 2010, set guidelines for the country’s efforts to protect biodiversity overthe next 20 years.

Ministry responds to public concerns about pollution

Map of Shandong Province of China
Map of Shandong Province of China (Photo credit: WikipedThis is the first time the ministry has released information in this manner about a group of pollution incidents. But such information will be released on a quarterly basis in the future, said an official from the ministry who asked not to be named. “We are taking this measure to respond to the public’s concerns. We hope it will make public supervision more convenient and push enterprises to rectify problems and improve their operations as quickly as possible,” said the official.

Many high-profile pollution incidents, which triggered nationwide outrage, are among the 13 cases the ministry has revealed its response to.

The most recent major pollution scandal to provoke a public outcry was in March, when Deng Lianjun, then-head of the local environmental protection department, responded to residents concerns over a polluted river in Cangxian county, Hebei province, by saying just because it had turned red that didn’t mean the water was unsafe to drink, because “after boiling with red beans the water has that color, too”.

The river was later found to contain levels of aniline that were 73 times higher than the national standard.

The announcement said Deng had been removed from his post, and the local environmental protection department is testing water and soil samples from a nearby chemical factory that was believed to have caused the pollution.

“The ministry’s statement is a leap forward in official environmental information disclosure,” said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, an environmental NGO that aims to promote environmental information disclosure in China.

Ma said he was especially happy to see that the ministry has responded not only to issues disclosed by traditional media, but also to hot issues generated from online posts and discussions.

One of them was an allegation that first appeared in February on Sina Weibo, claiming that factories in Weifang, Shandong province, had polluted the local water supply by pumping wastewater 1,000 meters underground.

The ministry’s statement said an investigation led by the local government found no solid evidence that this had happened, but it found that many small paint factories have been operating without wastewater treatment facilities.

The statement said the local environmental protection department plans a further investigation into the illegal dumping of wastewater, and will accelerate the construction of sewage discharge pipelines in the region.

Ma said although the ministry’s statement was welcome it was a bit too simple, briefly summarizing the response to the 13 cases, and he hoped in the future the investigation process, the problems discovered and how they would be addressed, would be disclosed in more detail.

In another case, companies in an industrial park located in the Tengger desert in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, have been dumping their wastewater directly into the desert without treatment.

Production was halted completely in the industrial park after the situation was exposed in March, and it will not be resumed until all enterprises are equipped with a sewage discharge system.