BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government will take "more forceful" measures in the next five years to protect the environment and promote green development, Environment Minister Chen Jining said on Tuesday.
"The Chinese environment is reaching or has reached its limit due to years of sprawling development at the price of environment," Chen said at a meeting on environment and development in the 13th five-year plan period.
Environmental quality has become a bottleneck of progress toward a comprehensively well-off society by 2020, he said.
He characterized overall Chinese environment as "poor", with high pollutant emissions, serious ecological damage and high risks, which are all very far from public expectations.
But the minister said opportunities will overwhelm challenges in the next five years as China deepens the innovation-driven development.
"The 13th five year plan period will be a crucial, strategically decisive stage where great things can be accomplished for China's environmental protection," he said.
China has been drawing up five-year plans since 1953 to map strategies for its overall economic and social development. The 13th five-year plan will span 2016-2020.