Public Awareness, Key to Environmental Protection

Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) Xie Zhenhua Tuesday emphasized the significance of raising the public awareness of environment, saying that it is the top issue facing China in its efforts to protect the environment.

"Despite the fact that the public's environmental awareness has been significantly increased in recent years, it still has a long way to go to let every Chinese know the importance of environment protection."

Xie made the remarks at a press conference yesterday, which was sponsored by the State Council Information Office. At the meeting, he also issued the 2000 Environment Report in China, according to which, achievements in fighting against pollution were made. The report also listed the main problems hindering China’s environment protection efforts.

The total discharge of pollutants into water is now under control, Xie noted, but he said that the absolute figure remains to be considerable, going far beyond the environment capacity.

Even worse, some paper mills and cement factories, which were closed because of pollution a year ago, have resumed operation recently for the money's sake.

In addition, the ecological deterioration continues as the endeavor of improvement lags behind the speed of human sabotage.

To solve these problems, SEPA, State Economic and Trade Commission, the Ministry of Supervision and State Forestry Administration have recently taken a joint action against those businesses which have discharged pollutants illegally and sabotaged ecological environment. In Shanxi Province alone, for an instance, 76 people including government officials, heads of competent departments, and legal persons of businesses who were responsible for such unlawful actions were punished.

A uniform telephone line to receive complaints from the public will also be opened at all environmental protection agencies at and above the county level, the number being: 12369. "We need the public to have effective supervision over businesses," Xie told the press conference.

Yesterday afternoon, SEPA also sponsored an exhibition on China's ecological environment safety in Beijing. The extent of environmental pollution and ecological destruction across the country was made known to the public in order to attract more attention on environment and mobilize the society to protect environment.

Speaking of the moves China has taken for facilitating the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, Xie said that China has signed the protocol. According to the requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and this protocol, he added, China has not only shouldered the duty of reducing emission of carbon dioxide but also taken initiatives to protect the global environment.

"We have taken measures to control the further growth of population and develop hydropower and reusable energy. We will develop nuclear power to raise the efficiency in energy utilization. Meanwhile, we have made great efforts to convert the wasteland into forestry and pasture to take in carbon dioxide. According to expert estimation, all these measures taken by China in recent five to 10 years have the effect equal to a reduction of emission of 550 million tons of carbon dioxide.

"As a developing country, China should make contributions to this endeavor," Xie said.

( by Chen Qiuping 06/06/2001)

In This Series

Agro Experts Develop Water-saving Rice

Environment Improving in Major Cities

Nation Fosters Green Farming

China Issues Communique on Environment Protection

Dalian on UN List of Greenest Urban Areas

Plan to Protect Environment Outlined

Environment Proves to Be Top Public Consideration

Nation Set to Concentrate on Rubbish Problem

Scientists Keep Watch on Red Tides

Tree Belt for World’s Longest Desert Highway

Moves to Curb River Pollution

Standards for Automobile Emissions Released

More Investment for Environment Protection



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