BEIJING, : Minister of Environmental
Protection Li Ganjie announced that fighting out
pollution will be China’s number one priority for
providing a healthy life to its people.
Li made the announcement at a news conference on the
sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the
Communist Party of China (CPC). China has decided to
link pollution stride to economic progress. Measures to
fight pollution in China have made transformational and
systemic progress during the recent years, he said..
He drew attention to past experiences that show a
positive correlation between environmental protection
and economic development. He noted China’s unemployment
rate has dropped to its lowest level in recent years,
citing this as evidence that the policies on the
environment have had no negative overall effect on
“We have emphasized on both the immediate result and
the long-term effect, while taking the right approach
on moving forward the campaign of environmental
protection,” Li said.
The minister also reiterated his opposition to the
one-size-fits-all approach. On one hand, China has
adopted zero-tolerance attitude towards companies that
have violated laws and regulations, and on the other
hand, it has taken a classified guidance approach for
different industries and handled relevant issues on a
case-by-case basis, he said.
Decades of growth have left the country with problems
such as smog and contaminated soil, but Li said there
had been historic progress in environmental protection
since the 18th CPC National Congress as the country
pursues a green development strategy. Here are some
examples given by the Ministry of Environmental
- In general, water quality for mainstreams of major
waters and lakes has steadily improved.
- Forestcoverage rate is up to 22 percent from 16.6
percent in the century.
- Around 2,750 nature reserves cover 14.9 percent of
the national land, surpassing the global average.
- Coal-fired boilers with an installed capacity of 570
million kilowatts have been upgraded.
- More than 18 million yellow-labeled vehicles
(gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles that fail to meet
the national emission standards) and old vehicles have
been phased out.
- Comprehensive environmental improvement projects have
been carried out in more than 11,000 villages,
benefiting 190 million villagers.
- The Central Leading Group for Comprehensively
Deepening Reform has approved over 40 specific reform
plans for environmental protection.
- A number of important laws have been promulgated and
amended, including Environmental Protection Law.
Environmental inspection is a major reform measure
initiated and promoted by General Secretary Xi Jinping,
said Li, noting that the four rounds of inspections
have taken place in 31 provinces, municipalities and
So far, nearly 15,000 officials have been disciplined,
according to figures released by the ministry.
Central environmental inspections were launched in July
2016, giving environmental officials more power to hold
officials accountable for environmental problems.
Inspectors have been dispatched by the MEP and also
include the Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog and
personnel department. Central inspectors are seen as
the latest weapon in China’s fight against soil, air
and water pollution, he added.
Originally published by INP