China's provincial governments step up efforts in environmental protection

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-01 18:27:45|Editor: Lifang
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BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Despite seeing cleaner skies and less polluted rivers, policymakers across China are sparing no effort to maintain the momentum in improving the environment.

At the annual provincial legislative sessions, environmental issues have remained high on the agenda. Local governments have set new targets for pollution control, outlined measures to promote the use of clean energy, and vowed to tighten supervision on environmental violations.

Beijing plans to invest more than 67 billion yuan (about 10.2 billion U.S. dollars) in environmental protection this year in sectors such as air pollution, water and soil improvement, as well as integrated garbage treatment.

More than 19 billion yuan will be used to control pollution sources such as coal, vehicles and dust, and to support projects to replace coal with clean energy in rural areas.

Smog-prone Beijing has intensified measures in recent years to improve its air quality and has achieved remarkable results. The average density of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, was 58 micrograms per cubic meter last year, 20.5 percent less than in 2016.

Beijing's neighboring Hebei Province plans to reduce its annual coal consumption by 5 million tonnes this year by promoting the use of clean and renewable energy.

The province will also begin a three-year campaign to expand afforestation this year, planting more trees to build a "green wall" for Beijing.

In Shanghai, Mayor Ying Yong has set a target to keep the average density of PM2.5 below 35 micrograms per cubic meter in five years. The municipality will also accelerate the building of a platform to better monitor environmental data.

North China's coal-rich Shanxi Province will further cut its outdated coal production capacity by around 23 million tonnes and close 36 coal mines in 2018. Over the past two years, Shanxi has reduced 45.9 million tonnes of outdated coal production capacity and closed 52 mines.

Northwest China's Gansu Province will close 10 hydropower stations this year, in efforts to protect the national nature reserve in the Qilian Mountains. More than 200 herders and 61,000 sheep will also be moved out of the core zone of the reserve.

Southern province of Hainan has vowed to tighten supervision on land reclamation and control on water pollution, after being criticized by an inspection team from the State Oceanic Administration.

Hainan's reclaimed land was mainly used for tourism and real estate, putting pressure on the marine environment, said the inspection team.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has incorporated "Beautiful China" into its two-stage development plan for the building of a great modern socialist country, according to the report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress in October.

The government has passed its toughest-ever environmental protection law, and introduced a "river chief" system to protect water resources. Ecological "red lines" will also be drawn in certain regions to strengthen environmental protection, according to earlier planning.