IX. Environmental Science and Technology, Industry and Public Participation

China attaches great importance to and consistently seeks to enhance the support capability of science and technology for environmental protection, actively promotes the industrialization of environmental protection, and has adopted various measures to encourage public participation in this regard.

-- Environmental protection scientific research. During the Tenth Five-Year Plan period, the State has organized and conducted the national key "water pollution control technology and treatment project," carried out research and development of such model programs as lake pollution control and ecological recovery, quality improvement of urban water environment, drinking water security safeguard and newly developed waste-water treatment project, thus providing practical technological plans and supportive technological systems for water pollution prevention and control. A batch of environmental monitoring technologies and equipment has been developed, and many applied. The research and development of such pilot programs as motor-vehicle emission purification, desulphurization of gas discharged by coal-fueled boilers, disposal of solid wastes, clean production of key sectors and other key technologies have been conducted, and a group of high and new technologies and equipment have been developed with independent intellectual property rights. The "research on countermeasures against significant environmental issues and relevant key supportive technologies" has been listed in the State's key scientific and technological plans; research is under way regarding environmental protection strategy and technological policy, the theory of cyclical economy and ecological industrial technology, chemicals control technology, and polluted site recovery technology, and a green GDP accounting framework has roughly taken shape. The government has carried out research on comprehensive ecological system assessment, ecological functional zoning, and the recovery and reconstruction of the frail ecological zones in the western part of the country, thus shaping up a variety of treatment technology patterns and a mechanism for large-scale demonstration and popularization in those zones. The country has also completed its survey of alien invasive species, and set up a biodiversity database. It has formulated the State Environment and Health Action Plan, and conducted surveys on environment and health in key areas. It has actively conducted research on global environmental changes, and worked out the State Assessment Report on Climate Changes, which provides a scientific basis for the State to formulate policies to cope with global environmental changes and participate in the negotiation on relevant international conventions.
-- Environmental protection industry. After years of practice, China has formed an industrial system of environmental protection with a basically complete category and certain economic scale, and made considerable progress in the production of environmentally-friendly products and related services, as well as comprehensive utilization of resources and clean technology products. By the end of 2004, China had 11,623 enterprises, each with an annual sales income of more than 2 million yuan, from the environmental protection industry, employing a total of 1.595 million workers. The entire industry generated 457.21 billion yuan in revenue and 39.39 billion yuan in profits.

-- Public participation. The Chinese government has endeavored to boost public participation in environmental protection. The Environmental Impact Assessment Law requires public participation in the work, and demands appraisal meetings or hearings be held or other forms be taken for any plan or construction project that may cause an unfavorable impact on the environment to collect the opinions of the relevant authorities, experts and the public on the EIA report. In February 2006, the environmental authorities released the Provisional Measures for Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment, which clearly stipulates the scope, procedure and form of organization regarding public participation. Non-governmental organizations and volunteers are an important force in public participation. There are now more than 1,000 such organizations in China.
-- Publicity and education. To strengthen the publicity and education of environmental protection, the State has formulated the National Action Program for Environmental Publicity and Education (1996-2010) and the 2001-2005 National Program for Environmental Publicity and Education Work. The Fourth Five-Year Plan of Legislation Publicity, commencing in 2001, has made the publicity and education concerning laws and regulations on environmental protection a major part of the national legislation publicity and education drive, and included the publicity of those laws and regulations in the annual legislation publicity plan. Every June 5, World Environment Day, various activities are held across the country, publicizing protection of the environment. Neighborhoods, schools and families are encouraged to make themselves environmentally-friendly. So far, the drive has gathered the support of 2,348 neighborhoods and 25,000 primary and middle schools, secondary vocational schools and kindergartens, and 100 model families have been elected. Special programs tailored for young boys and girls, such as "Mother River Protection Operation," "Green Promise," "Environmental Action Every Day" and "Ecological Monitor," are launched to give them moral education in eco-environment and make them more aware of the importance of environmental protection. The Green China Forum and the China Environment Culture Festival and other similar activities are held to provide knowledge about the environment to the public and guide their discussions and participation in building a green home.
-- Making information on the environment known to the public. By the end of 2005, all cities at the prefecture level or above had realized automatic monitoring and daily report of air quality. The quality of water is monitored in key river valleys, and monthly reports of the water quality in ten major river valleys and weekly reports of automatic monitoring results are released. Monitoring of the water quality of the eastern section of the South-North Water Diversion Project is conducted regularly. The 113 cities under special environmental protection are now making monthly reports of the quality of the source of centralized drinking water supply. A system of quarterly analysis of environmental quality has been put in place to timely release relevant information. Regular or occasional news conferences are held by governments and environmental authorities at various levels to report on environmental conditions, major policies and measures, unexpected incidents and violation of laws and regulations as a way to guarantee the public's right to information on environmental protection and promote their participation in the work.
-- Protection of the environmental rights of the public. By the end of 2005, the four municipalities directly under the Central Government, 312 prefecture-level cities, 374 county-level cities and 677 counties had opened hotlines for environmental pollution reports, covering 69.4 percent of the administrative divisions above the county level. Since 2003, the environmental authorities at various levels have received 1.148 million complaints on environmental pollution through the hotlines, 97 percent of which have been dealt with, and 80 percent of the people making such complaints in major cities are satisfied with the results. Along with the public's increasing awareness of the importance of protecting the environment and demand for a better environment, the number of complaints lodged by letter or interview about infringements on the people's environment-related rights keeps increasing. From 2001 to 2005, the environmental authorities across the country received more than 2.53 million letters, 430,000 visits by 597,000 petitioners, accepted and handled 673 proposals from NPC deputies and 521 motions from members of the CPPCC National Committee.