The State Environmental Protection Administration has pledged to cooperate with other government departments in drafting a plan to promote a circular economy and integrate it into local economic and social development.
Circular economy, a new term to most people, is a situation in which interlinked industries and services seek better performance economically and environmentally by collaborating in their management of resources. In a circular economy, waste from one facility can be used to fuel another.
Thus energy, water and other resources can be recycled and used with improved efficiency while more economic value is created with roughly the same amount of resource consumption.
In China's current practice, the major priority in environmental protection is to cure polluted soil, air and water, and fine those who harm the environment.
These measures are actually all defensive actions against pollution, and are not enough to improve people's awareness of environmental protection.
In practice, some enterprises even regard the fines collected for their pollution as a fee for making their contaminating discharges legitimate.
Under the mode of circular economy when resources are recycled and fully utilized, economic development and resource conservation are harmonious, which motivates businesses to take part.
As a matter of fact, there is adequate room for Chinese manufacturers and service suppliers to get involved in circular economy.
Based on huge consumption of resources, China's current economic growth is rather luxurious.
Calculated against economic output, China's energy consumption is 11.5 times that of Japan, 4.3 times that of the United States and 3.3 times that of Canada.
Such a huge gap not only indicates the urgent need for improvement, but also offers a remarkable chance to catch up.
Every small step forward can mean saving huge amounts of coal, water and forests.
The idea for promoting a circular economy is still being explored. More substantial steps are needed to put it into practice.
(China Daily August 3, 2004)