China to highlight green development in its future progress

Tourists are biking at a wetland park in Nanchang, east China's Jiangxi Province, Jan. 4. (Photo by Shi Yu/People's Daily Online)

China will expand forest coverage to 24.1 percent of its total land area in the next five years, and energy consumption per unit of GDP and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 13.5 percent and 18 percent, respectively, said China’s government work report this year.

Achieving continuous ecological and environmental improvement during the past five years, China is still taking green development as an obligatory target, which indicates the country’s resolution to prioritize ecological conservation and boost green development, said Wang Jinnan, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

High-quality economic development shall never be achieved at the expense of ecological environment, he remarked.

China comprehensively accomplished the objectives for pollution prevention and control during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), achieving major targets as scheduled and significantly improving the ecology. Its skies are blue; its waters are clear; and its environment is lifted. People’s expectation toward a sound ecological environment is gradually coming true.

The government work report said that China will continue to intensify efforts to improve the environment.

“We must improve people’s livelihood when protecting ecology and environment, and take prominent ecological problems as a priority in addressing livelihood issues,” said Wang Lianling, vice chairperson of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Tangshan Committee.

Air pollution control is a major livelihood project in Tangshan, he said, adding that air quality in the city met standards on 249 days last year, 71 more from those in 2015.

To intensify efforts to improve the environment and promote continuous environmental improvement reflect China’s people-centered development philosophy, said Meng Qingqiang, chairman of State Grid Hunan Electric Power Company Limited. According to him, over half of the power consumption in Hunan Province came from clean energy.

The central government funding will enhance its support for pollution prevention and control and ecological conservation. A total of 27.5 billion yuan ($4.24 billion) and 21.7 billion yuan will be allocated to prevent air pollution and water pollution, up 10 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively.

“By improving the environment we are developing productive forces,” said Zhang Chengzhong, secretary of the Communist Party of China Panjin Municipal Committee. He introduced that Panjin implemented a project to restore marine ecology, which banned over 5,300 hectares of marine aquaculture and increased 17.6 kilometers of natural coastlines. The city has explored a green development path that addresses both economy and ecological conservation, he said.

Practice proves that economic development and environmental protection can be achieved simultaneously. Wang Tianqi, head of the ecology and environment department of east China’s Jiangsu Province said that the province has shut down over 57,000 small, poorly-managed, and heavily-polluting enterprises. However, the output of relevant industries didn’t shrink, with the iron and pharmaceutical sectors increasing 7.4 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, he added.

A sound ecological environment is a well-being with the widest coverage. China, advancing green development, is promoting high-quality economic development and high-level ecological protection in a synergetic manner, so as to build itself into a beautiful country with sound ecology, thriving industries, and wealthy people.

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