China attaches high importance to ecological progress while developing economy

By Liu Yi, Sun Xiuyan, People’s Daily
As China steps up its conservation efforts, the world is seeing a China with more blue skies, lush mountains and lucid waters.
According to a report on China’s air quality improvement issued by the country’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the total emission of major air pollutants in 2018 has been significantly reduced from 2013 while the GDP of China surged during this period.
In addition, the average density of PM2.5 in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta areas decreased by 48%, 39% and 32% respectively compared with that of 2013.
The Guanting Reservoir National Wetland Park located in the junction of Huailai county, Hebei province and Yanqing district, Beijing is one of the beneficiaries of China’s ecological progress.
The reservoir was once eliminated from the list of sources of drinking water for Beijing 22 years ago because of water pollution. Thanks to China’s ecological efforts, the reservoir is now home to flocks of birds and surrounded by massive reeds. According to the master plan of Beijing, the reservoir will once again serve as a drinking water source of Beijing by 2035.
The Guanting Reservoir National Wetland Park was implemented as a prioritized project by Huailai county since 2017. Dai Fuqiang, a local villager who runs a restaurant there told People’s Daily that the fascinating sceneries of the wetland park have attracted many visitors, thus prospering his restaurant.
Data from NASA satellites indicated that China contributed at least 25 percent to the world’s newly added green leaf area between 2000 and 2017, the largest share among all countries. So far, the country has set up a total of 2,750 nature reserves.
Apart from promoting ecological treatment, China is also greening its industry.
The world’s largest waterborne paint manufacturing base has been built by a Chinese paint manufacturer in Xushui district, Baoding of Hebei province, which is adjacent to China’s Xiong’an New Area – a national-level new area that aims to serve as a new engine for modern economic system.
The paint plant, built by China’s Chenyang Group, plans to produce 1.25 million tons of water paint on a yearly basis. Waterborne paint, which uses water as diluents, is a substitution of traditional solvent-based paint, and can significantly reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
“Compared with traditional paint factories with the same size, this plant can cut VOC emission by 1 million tons each year,” said Hu Zhongyuan, chief technical engineer of the plant, adding that both the production and sales of the water paint produced by the factory doubled each year since 2015.
Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group in Shanxi is also making efforts to green its factory. Thanks to an upgrading project to cut emissions, the group’s factory is now free from pollution, noise, and odor. Besides, it has met standards of both emission density and volume.
China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology and National Development and Reform Commission jointly issued guidance for iron and steel industry in April this year, requesting relevant enterprises to lower emission. Following the guidance, iron companies across the country started upgrading projects, vowing to make the sky bluer.
Jingde county in eastern China’s Anhui province has 69.2 percent of its land covered by forests, and the annual PM2.5 density stays at 27 microgram per cubic meter. It is a result of constant and effective ecological and environmental management, as well as a development philosophy the county has adopted in recent years to center on the health industry.
“Jingde county, fostering new growth points with local ecological resources, is seeing sound development momentum,” said Zhou Mi, Party chief of Jingde county and member of the standing committee of the Communist Party of China Xuancheng municipal committee.
Zheng Xinli, executive president of the China Association of Policy Science disclosed at a session held by China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development that the output of China’s green economy was about 6 trillion yuan in 2018. According to him, the figure is expected to reach 12 trillion, or 8 percent of China’s GDP by 2025, and contribute 10 percent to China’s economy by 2035.
China has firm conviction to win the battle of pollution prevention, and will take active response to cope with climate change, ban garbage imports and promote garbage sorting. Besides, it will also accelerate the building of a system of protected natural areas with state parks as the main element. China is making great strides to make new achievements in both economic and ecological development.

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