Li made the remarks while taking questions from domestic and foreign journalists at a press conference for the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing on March 11.
As a weighty task, ecological civilization construction and ecological environmental protection was elaborated by Premier Li Keqiang in the government work report he delivered on March 5, the minister said.
Next step, the country needs to focus on key tasks including the fight to keep the skies blue, strengthen pollution prevention and control, step up efforts to protect and restore ecosystems, strengthen green and environmental protection industries, and make big advances in green development, according to the report.
The country will also take a holistic approach, address both symptoms and root causes, and make continuous improvements to the environment, the report continued.
The roadmap, timetable, action plan and tasks for the campaign for blue skies have been set, said the minister, expressing that the key is to focus on the implementation of relevant tasks.
The general principle of the campaign is quite clear, the minister introduced.
The campaign should focus on major regions, major time frames, major industries, and major factors, he stressed.
It should also optimize industrial structure, energy mix, transportation structure, and land use structure.
Inspections and law enforcement, scientific and technological innovation, joint prevention and control over pollution, and publicity and guidance should be enhanced.
In addition, efforts should be made to bring down PM2.5 concentration, reduce the number of heavy polluted days, improve air quality, and make the people happier about the blue skies, he continued.
In 2018, the fight to keep blue skies proceeded smoothly and yielded delightful results, the minister said.
The proportion of blue-sky days in 338 cities at or above the prefectural level increased by 1.3 percentage points to 79.3 percent, with PM 2.5 concentrations dropping 9.3 percent year-on-year.
According to the minister, the three areas on which the efforts were focused witnessed more significant improvement on the reduction of PM 2.5 concentration.
China is one of the countries that have the greatest biodiversity, the minister said, adding that the country has been attaching great importance to the biodiversity protection and has made remarkable progress in this field.
Currently, China has 2,750 nature reserves run by various levels of government. The number of national-level reserves stands at 474, according to the minister, adding that the country’s land area for nature reserves has reached 1.7 million square kilometers.
China has well preserved many natural ecosystems and protected most of the important wild species through great efforts, and has managed to restore some rare and endangered species, the minister said.
Chinese Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie takes questions at a press conference. (Weng Qiyu/People’s Daily Online)