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The Prevention and Control of Pollution      Ecological Environmentel Protection       Legal Guarantess and International Exchanges


Introduction : While developing its economy, China is attaching more and more importance to environmental protection. In the early 1970s, the Chinese government put forward the policy and relevant measures on treating the “three wastes” (waste gas, waste water and residues), and started to cleanse polluted rivers, lakes and offshore sea areas. Some achievements were made. Since the initiation of the policies of reform and opening to the outside world, the Chinese government has taken environmental protection as a basic national policy, formulated a series of policies, laws and measures on environmental protection, and put forward the guiding principle of “simultaneously making plans for economic construction, urban and rural construction and environmental construction, while implementing the plans for development so as to integrate economic, social and environmental beneficial results into one.” It has also implemented the three major policies of “putting prevention first, and combining prevention with control,” “whoever causes pollution must remedy it” and “intensifying environmental administration.” The Central Government requires governments at all levels to work out environmental protection measure while formulating a plan for national economic and social development to make the economy and the environment develop in a coordinated way. In 1994, the Chinese government also promulgated the Agenda 21-White Paper on China’s Population, Environment and Development in the 21st Century, which for the first time put forward China’s general strategy for sustainable development, countermeasures and action programs. While developing its economy, China will handle properly the relations among the population, natural resources and the environment. In March 1996,the Fourth Session of the Eighth NPC approved the Outline of the Ninth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives to the Year 2010, which puts forward the cross-century environmental objectives as follows: By 2000, China will try to basically control environmental pollution and the worsening of the ecological environment, and the environmental quality of some cities and regions will be improved. By 2010, the worsening of the ecological environment will be basically checked, the urban environmental quality will be improved remarkably, and a number of cities and regions will feature rapid economic development, a beautiful environment and a benign ecological circle. In January 1999, the Chinese government worked out and approved the National Ecological Environmental Construction Program, which proposed a 50-year deadline for checking the worsening of the ecological environment in the short, medium and long terms.

Both the central and local governments have established environmental-protection management organs. By the end of 1999, China had more than 2,500 environmental-protection departments at or above the county level, 2,111 environmental-monitoring stations at all levels, and 118,000 environmental-protection personnel throughout the country, including 36,000 environmental monitoring personnel.

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The Prevention and Control of Pollution

With respect to preventing and controlling industrial pollution and improving the urban environment in an all-round way, China relies on improving supervision, management and technology to promote environmental protection. In 1999, China completed 22,258 scheduled environmental improvement projects, involving a total investment of 12.31 billion yuan; 2,364 smoke-and-dust control districts were set up in 536 cities; and 2,040 noise standardized areas were established in 431 cities. The 144 enterprises by Dianchi Lake, each pouring over 100 tons of waste water daily into the lake, have been ordered to make improvements within a set time. The same is true of the 109 enterprises by Chaohu Lake, each pouring over 100 tons of waste water into the lake daily. As a result, the rate of industrial pollution emission along the valleys of Dianshi and Chaohu lakes has reached the standard, and the water quality has greatly improved.

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Ecological Environmentel Protection

In the past 40-some years, China has accumulatively improved 670,000 sq km of soil-eroded areas, and the forest coverage rate has increased to 13.92 percent. Some achievements have also been made in natural environmental protection, with 151 model ecological zones. There are 1.146 nature reserves all over the country, including 137 national nature reserves. The largest project for the transformation of the ecological environment is the “Three-Norths” (Northwest, North and Northeast) Shelterbelt Project. Following the beginning of the construction of this 7,000-km “Green Great Wall” in 1978, more than 18 million ha of areas had been afforested, 21 million ha of fields had been protected by trees and about 20 percent of decertified land had been improved by 1996. The construction of another two projects-the shelterbelts on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the coastal shelterbelts-is being speeded up. At present, the Chinese natural ecological environment is still very weak, and water erosion, desertification and degeneration of grasslands are worsening with each passing day, thus weakening the ecological functions of windbreaks, sand fixation, water storage, soil preservation, and the protection of biological diversification. Hence, the Chinese government is taking measures to implement the National Program for the Construction of the Ecological Environment in an all-round way, while paying great attention to the prevention and control of pollution and the protection of the ecological environment.

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Legal Guarantess and International Exchanges

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the formulation of laws and regulations on environmental protection, and has brought the environmental protection work into the legal orbit. Up to now, five special laws on environmental protection and nine natural resources laws related to environmental protection have been promulgated. In addition, the State Council has worked out over 30 administrative laws and regulations on environmental protection. Along with the increase of large construction projects, the Chinese government in 1998 worked out the Regulations on Environmental Protection Management of Construction Projects to further strengthen environmental protection management of construction projects, control new pollution sources and protect the ecological environment.

The Chinese government has strengthened its cooperation with the UN Environment Program, the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, as well as with the developed countries in North America, Western and Northern Europe and Japan, and the developing nations. In this regard, China has signed a series of international conventions and protocols since 1979, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Basel Convention on Control of Tran boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (revised version), Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on Combating Desertification, Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, Especially as Waterfowl Habitats, and the 1972 London Convention. China has also worked out the 21st Century Agenda on Environmental Protection, Action Plan for the Conservation of Biodiversity, Action Plan for Forestry in the 21st Century, the 21st Century Marine Agenda, and other important documents, and has performed its obligations.

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  Information provided by China National Tourism Administration.


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