CANBERRA, May 1 (Xinhua) -- China is making progress in its environmental protection efforts, an Australian expert said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"What we see is a 30 percent improvement in air quality levels in Beijing over the last five years," said Howard Bamsey, honorary professor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University and chairman of Global Water Partnership. "We see real progress being made."
According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, average density of PM 2.5 in Beijing in 2017 saw a decrease of 35.6 percent from 2013.
A 2018 study by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago showed that concentrations of fine particulates in Chinese cities have decreased by an average rate of 32 percent since 2014.
"China has been able to reduce pollution in cities, and that will help sustain economic development," said Bamsey. "It is a great step and progress, showing that both Chinese people and the Chinese government have upgraded the importance of environment protection and ecosystem."
Environmental problems are often associated with rapid development, he said.
"I think it's really important for China to maintain its economic growth while dealing with its environmental problems," he said, noting the environmental problems in China have become spurs to its "high-quality development" rather than obstacles. "It is very important to focus on this at the Belt and Road forum and the horticultural expo in Beijing," he said.
The expert also said: "Green development is the only form of sustainable development now. China has many opportunities to green its own development and to green the development of countries it is working with on the Belt and Road."
Bamsey especially talked about China's efforts in reducing emission from vehicles and factories. "China has given priority in the current five-year plan to increasing the proportion of electric vehicles ... and making electric vehicles economically accessible," he said.