Fighting out pollution, China’s number one priority, says Li Ganjie

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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

jobs.

 

“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

Protection (MEP).

 

  • 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

autonomous regions.

 

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

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