While vigorously developing Tibetan economy, the people's government
attaches great importance to environmental protection in Tibet.
Conscientiously carrying out the state's basic policy on environmental
protection, the Tibet Autonomous Region perseveres in its strategy
of synchronized planning and undertaking of economic, urban, rural
and environmental construction. It has implemented the three policies
of making preventive measures a priority, assigning responsibility
to those who created pollution to clearing it up and intensifying
environmental control. The Standing Committee of the People's Congress
of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the people's government of the
autonomous region have published a series of local laws and regulations,
as well as administrative rules and systems, covering the protection
of environment and natural resources in line with actual local conditions.
Examples are the Regulations for the Protection of Forests in the
Tibet Autonomous Region, the Provisional Regulations of the Tibet
Autonomous Region on Administration of Grasslands and the Notice
of the People's Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the
Protection of Aquatic Resources. In the field of wildlife protection
alone, there are more than 20 documents on related regulations and
systems. In 1975, the autonomous region set up an environmental
protection institution to beef up unified supervision and administration
over environmental protection work. In 1990, the Environmental Protection
Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region was established to take
charge of such undertakings in the whole region.
The region has also made considerable headway in improving ecological
environment. It has seen the building of over 13,000 major and minor
irrigation channels, some 5,200 large and small reservoirs able
to hold more than 270 million cubic meters of water, and 18 river
embarkment projects, with a total length of about 250 km. For many
years, chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been employed on
a sound basis. Many measures have been taken to protect grasslands,
such as enclosure with fences for livestock breeding and irrigation.
Efforts have also been made to develop river banks and plant trees
and grass. A rational system of rotation of herds has been enforced,
and efforts have been made to prevent the blind reclamation of wasteland
at the expense of grassland. By the end of 1990, the total area
of fenced grassland had reached 183,000 hectares, while 161,000
hectares were under irrigation. Rats, pests and virulent plants
have been kept under control over 1.187 million hectares of grassland.
The region's ecological environment has improved steadily.
Work has simultaneously proceeded on tree planting, the safeguarding
of forests and the prevention of forest fires. Hillsides have been
closed off for forest conservation and the destructive lumbering
of forests banned. From the early 1960s to the present, the region
has planted 70 million trees and hillsides closed off for forest
conservation reached 140,000 hectares a year. Tibet now has 6.32
million hectares of forests, of which 22,000 hectares have been
planted by people in the region. Forested areas have been expanding
every year, with the increase in standing timber greater than that
of felled lumber. The region has set up seven nature reserves, while
another five are under construction or in the planning stage. Reserves
are to reach 325,300 square km, accounting for 26.5 percent of the
region's total area, effectively protecting rare wildlife and plants.
In accordance with local conditions, Tibet has steadfastly pressed
ahead with construction of hydropower stations and worked hard to
exploit geothermal energy resources and popularize the use of solar
and wind energy. The region has since liberation built 424 hydropower
stations with a total installed generating capacity of 109,700 kw,
and two geothermal power stations. The use of solar energy stoves
has been introduced throughout the region, with the figure reaching
17,750. Over 105,000 square meters of solar energy housing have
been built and 19,000 square meters of solar energy heating devices
have been installed. In addition, the region has introduced some
700 wind-driven generators. The use of these pollution-free energy
resources plays an important role in the protection of the environment.
While bolstering the ecological environment, Tibet is strengthening
environmental administration. For all construction projects that
might affect the environment, the region follows the "environmental
impact appraisal" system and the system of designing, building and
putting into operation pollution treatment facilities and construction
projects at the same time. Some sources of pollution have been curbed.
Industrial waste gas disposal has reached 80 percent. Meanwhile,
efforts have been made to investigate the origins of industrial
pollution in Tibet, investigate and study the background value of
soil environment, investigate and study the natural radioactive
level in the environment, and investigate wild plant and animal
resources. These provide a scientific basis for environmental protection,
rational use of natural resources and economic development in Tibet.
In the field of urban and rural construction, the region has coupled
rational planning and distribution with construction of basic supportive
projects. Urban infrastructure facilities have increased in the
region. In Lhasa, green areas make up 17.6 percent of the city's
total area, with an average per-person share of 12 square meters.
In order to have timely information on the quality of the region's
environment, the Tibet Autonomous Region has established the Environmental
Monitoring Station in Lhasa. Two more are under construction in
Xigaze and Qamdo.
According to the monitoring station, environmental conditions are
good in Tibet. Generally speaking, there is no pollution of the
atmosphere or water. No acid rain has fallen in the region. The
annual level of suspended particulate matter in the urban atmosphere
averages 340 microgram/cubic meter a day, well within state standards.
Apart from slight pollution in several sections of rivers, the water
quality of the region's rivers and lakes is good. Radioactive elements
are at the normal background level, causing no deleterious pollution.
The Dalai Lama clique's accusations that China has stored its nuclear
wastes in Tibet are therefore purely fiction.
Of course, some undesirable environmental problems do sometimes
arise. For example, the quality of grassland tends to deteriorate,
and the habitat of some rare animals is gradually shrinking. The
people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region has taken counter-measures
by strengthening administration, publicity and education. Serious
penalties are meted out to those who violate the laws and regulations
on environmental protection. As a result, the numbers of some animals
on the verge of extinction, such as black-necked cranes, takins
and tigers, have increased in recent years.