VI. Environmental Science and Technology,
and Environmental Publicity and Education
Through adopting the strategy of ``relying on science and education to rejuvenate the nation,'' China has made certain achievements in actively accelerating the development of environmental science and technology, as follows:
-- The research spectrum of environmental science and technology has been steadily broadened. Research into environmental science and technology in China began in the 1970s. As an important part of scientific and technological work, it is put in a position of importance by the government. For some major environmental research subjects the Chinese government has formulated corresponding research programs and plans for environmental protection while organizing forces to tackle key scientific and technological problems. Besides, China has expanded its research into comprehensive prevention and control of regional environmental pollution, environmental background values and environmental capacity, pollution control technology and global environmental problems. As a result, the country has made substantial scientific and technological achievements in some research areas, such as the comprehensive prevention and control of Beijing's environmental pollution, the capacity of the atmospheric environment, the background value and environmental capacity of the nation's major soils, acid deposition and its impact and control, the forecasting and monitoring of the influence of the changes in the global climate and corresponding countermeasures, the depollution of coal, and the control of air pollution. China has also developed research in such fields as regional environ"imen tal impact assessment, environmental management and environmental economy, environmental monitoring technology and equipment, the protection of natural ecology, and the relationship between the environment and people's health. This provides scientific basis and technological support for environmental management, the prevention and control of pollution, and ecological protection.
-- The numbers of research institutes and personnel engaged in environmental protection have been steadily increased. By the end of 1995 some 390 scientific research bodies engaged in environmental protection had been established nationwide, staffed by more than 20,000 research and managerial personnel. A comprehensive scientific research system composed of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, competent departments of different trades, colleges and universities, and the environmental protection departments is basically in place.
-- Work regarding the screening, evaluation and popularization of the optimum and practical technology for environmental protection has been organized. The popularization of the optimum and practical technology is an important measure to expedite the transformation of environmental scientific and technological achievements into the capability of actual pollution prevention and control. During the Eighth Five-Year Plan period, 1,316 kinds of practical technology were recommended nationwide, and 438 of them were appraised as the optimum items of practical technology. Among them, 385 kinds have been put into use in 140,000 units, resulting in reduced emission of the ``three wastes'' and excellent economic returns.
-- The development of the environmental protection industry has been fostered. This newly emerging industry involves the development of technology, manufacturing of products, circulation of commodities, utilization of resources, provision of information, and undertaking of contracted projects. China gives priority to the development of the environmental protection industry, with the guidelines of ``actively fostering, adjusting the structure, relying on science and technology, improving quality, orienting to the market and providing excellent services.'' Preferential policies are given to investment, prices, taxes, etc., to encourage the development of the environmental protection industry. A general survey of the nation's environmental protection industry, the results of which were made public in May 1996, shows that there are 8,651 units engaged in the environmental protection industry, which is staffed by 1.882 million people and boasts 45.011 billion yuan worth of fixed assets, an annual output value of 31.148 billion yuan and 4.091 billion yuan in profits.
-- The development of environmental labels has entered the stage of implementation. In March 1993 China began to carry out a plan for environment labelling. By April 1996 the environmental label certification work had been developed in 11 categories of products, and 35 kinds of products from 21 enterprises had been awarded environmental labels. As the environmentally-labelled products enter millions of households the environmental label will exert a growing influence in society.
The Chinese government regards it a strategic task to actively develop environmental publicity and education and to raise the nation's consciousness about the importance of environmental protection.
-- China strives to popularize environmental protection knowledge among the people and raise their consciousness about environmental protection and gradually to cultivate fine environmental ethics and codes of conduct. As early as in the 1970s, popular science textbooks on environmental protection were compiled or translated into Chinese to widely introduce environmental protection knowledge and enlighten the people on such knowledge. Since the 1980s large-scale publicity activities have been organized all over the country every year on World Environment Day, Tree Planting Day, Love the Birds Week, etc. In recent years the Chinese media has been further promoting publicity and reports on environmental protection. Virtually all newspapers, radio and TV stations frequently offer environmental protection programs, and, in particular, the media pays special attention to severely polluted areas and units. Since 1993 the media's ``China Trans-century Environmental Protection Inspection Campaign,'' centered on news about environmental law enforcement, has aroused a nationwide responce and accelerated the solution to a number of major environmental problems. Meanwhile, the various provinces and cities have also developed such activities. In the past three years, 1,500 journalists from 750 news units have participated in these activities, engendering more than 10,000 news articles. Of these, television news items alone accounted for 1,600.
In 1983 China established the first national-level professional newspaper on environmental protection in the world -- the China Environment News, with an annual circulation of nearly 300,000 copies. In 1980 the China Environmental Science Press was established. By 1995 it had published over five million copies of books of 860 titles on the environment. Since 1990 the China Environment Yearbook has been published, and its English version also published since 1994. Besides, there are more than 30 local environmental newspapers and several hundred professional periodicals.
The Chinese government encourages the whole of society to participate in environmental publicity and education activities. In recent years the environmental protection departments, educational departments, cultural departments, news units, organizations for women and youth, scientific associations and academic societies have all developed their own environmental publicity and educational activities, highlighted by the following aspects:
-- Higher education has provided a great number of scientific, technological and managerial personnel for environ"imen tal protection work. A total of 140 colleges and universities, including Beijing University, Qinghua University, the People's University of China, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing University, Tongji University and Wuhan University, all have departments of or majors in environmental studies, with a total of 206 units having the authority of awarding bachelor's degrees. Approved by the Academic Degrees Committee under the State Council, there are 223 units granting master's degrees in 51 majors concerning the environment, 77 units granting doctorates in 39 majors, and several postdoctorate positions. Furthermore, more than 40 specialized secondary schools and over 100 vocational high schools also offer environmental courses. Over the past 20 years, large numbers of specialists trained by China's professional environmental education have become a significant force in the environmental protection field.
-- On-the-job training has enhanced the quality of environmental managerial personnel. In 1981 the Environmental Administrative Personnel Training College was established for the purpose of offering on-the-job training, continuing education and academic-level education to administrative personnel in the environmental protection departments throughout the country. By the end of 1995 over 5,200 trainees had completed courses there. These skill-enhanced trainees are playing an important role in promoting the nation's environmental protection work. Moreover, proceeding from the actual needs, various types of environmental training classes and symposiums have been held by various localities and departments concerned. Statistics show that over the past decade, more than 10,000 training classes have been held attended by over 400, 000 persons.
-- Basic environmental education has cultivated and enhanced young people's environmental consciousness. In recent years, environmental education has been offered in high schools, primary schools and kindergartens throughout the country to cultivate the children's loving-the-nature quality and sense of responsibility for environmental protection.
China is a populous country with underdeveloped education and the nation's consciousness about the environment remains to be further enhanced. Therefore, it will be a long-term, arduous task to do well in environmental publicity and education in China.