An increasing number of Chinese people are realizing that the practice of fueling rapid economic growth with excessive consumption of resources must be discarded since many kinds of resources are running short in the country.
This could be seen from the listing of "resources conservation" and "environmental protection" as state policy in the 11th Five-Year Guidelines for National Economic and Social Development (Draft) (2006-2010).
"China is a big country of resources in terms of total reserves, but it is a small one if its population of 1.3 billion is taken into consideration," said Wang Shusen, a deputy to the 10th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, which convened its annual session on March 5.
Official figures show that China's per capita possession of fresh water is only one fourth of the world average; arable land, less than 40 percent; proven coal reserves, 62 percent; proven oil reserves, 7 percent; natural gas, 4.5 percent; and forest one fifth of the world average.
Furthermore, the per capita possession of 45 kinds of mineral resources is less than half of the world average.
A survey recently released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows that China ranks among the world's most wasteful users of natural resources.
The survey, listed China 54 out of 59 countries, proves that China does not fundamentally break away from its economic growth model that relies on the "intensive use" of natural resources and energy, says the report.
China has been suffering a chronic insufficiency of natural resources due to its huge population of 1.3 billion, Wang said.
"China must change the pattern of economic growth by mainly relying on high consumption of natural resources and it has to introduce the energy-saving growth model," Wang added.
"The shortage of major resources will hold back economic development to a great extent," he said.
According to media reports, excessive consumption of resources has caused serious destruction to ecological environment.
The desertification of the Hulun Buir Grasslands in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region is becoming more serious due to excess land reclamation and pasturing; the rock desertification is turning worse in southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces; and the Huaihe River in central China has been polluted by factories lined along the river.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2006)