China issued on Thursday 12 August 2021, a broad-ranging white paper titled Moderate Prosperity in All Respects:
Another Milestone Achieved in China’s Human Rights. Part 8 of the white paper dealt with China’s environmental improvements.
According to the white paper:
- The air has become cleaner. China’s CO2 emissions per 10,000 yuan of GDP in 2020 fell by 48.4 percent from 2005, achieving the goal of a 40-to-45 percent fall during this period ahead of schedule.
- Water quality is improving as well. In 2020, 83.4 percent of the 1,940 surface water sections showed excellent or good quality, up 8.5 percentage points from 2019.
- With the living environment improving, China enforces stringent eco-environmental conservation. Nearly 10,000 nature reserves have been established across the country, covering 18 percent of the country’s landmass.
- The country is the first to achieve a zero increase in
desertification as a result of its relentless effort in desertification control.
Extract from the White Paper:
Part 8 – Improving the Eco-environment
A sound eco-environment is the most inclusive benefit to people’s wellbeing. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the central leadership has incorporated eco-environmental progress as part of the Five-sphere Integrated Plan for national development and has promoted an environment-friendly development model, advocating that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. It has enforced strict eco-environmental red lines and made solid efforts to prevent and control pollution, working to build a beautiful China and protect environmental rights.
The air has become cleaner through efforts to keep the sky blue. In 2020, China’s CO2 emissions per RMB10,000 of GDP fell by 48.4 percent from 2005, achieving the goal of a 40-to-45-percent fall during this period ahead of schedule. The proportion of natural gas, hydropower, nuclear power, wind power and other types of clean energy in total energy consumption rose from 19.1 percent in 2016 to 24.3 percent in 2020. Among the 337 cities at and above prefecture level nationwide, 202 met the air quality standards in 2020.
Water quality is improving through efforts to keep waters clear. In 2020, 83.4 percent of the 1,940 surface water sections monitored by the state showed excellent and good quality (meeting Class I to Class III surface water quality standards), up 8.5 percentage points from 2019; 0.6 percent of sections suffered from poor water quality below Class V, down 2.8 percentage points from 2019. In 2020, 77.4 percent of offshore waters reached Class I and Class II sea water quality standards, up 0.8 percentage point from 2019; 9.4 percent of offshore waters were worse than Class IV, down 2.3 percentage points from 2019.
Effective measures have been taken to bring under control the risks associated with worsening soil qualities. The state has formulated the Law on Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution, and implemented its action plan for addressing soil pollution. National soil pollution surveys have been carried out, with the focus on land for agriculture and key industries and enterprises. From 2014 to 2019, more than 3,500 heavy-metal enterprises were shut down in accordance with laws and regulations, and more than 850 heavy-metal discharge reduction projects were carried out. The soil quality of agricultural land is subject to classification and restoration, and the soil environment of 17 agricultural land remains stable. China has banned the import of foreign waste, and imports have largely fallen to zero.
The living environment is improving. In 2020, sanitary toilets were used by more than 68 percent of rural households. The system for the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of domestic waste covered more than 90 percent of villages. Domestic sewage treatment covered 25.5 percent of rural areas. In 46 major cities, 83 million households in 94.6 percent of communities were involved in domestic waste sorting programs. More than 90 percent of black and fetid water bodies in built-up areas of cities at and above prefecture level had been eliminated.
China enforces stringent eco-environmental conservation. As of 2020, nearly 10,000 nature reserves had been established across the country, covering 18 percent of China’s land mass, and bringing some 90 percent of land ecosystems and 85 percent of key wild animal populations under effective protection. China’s forest coverage rose from 12.7 percent in the early 1970s to 23 percent in 2020. While the global forest stock decreased by 178 million ha between 1990 and 2020, China’s forest area has seen an average annual increase of 2.5 million ha in the past decade, ranking top in the world. Between 2012 and June 2021, China completed desertification control work involving over 19 million ha of land, and 1.8 million ha have been closed off to prevent deterioration. China has become the first country to achieve a zero increase in desertification, making a great contribution to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development goal of zero increase in land degradation across the globe.
Source: CGTN, 12 August 2021