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Heading Towards a Circular Economy

When a circular economy was first advocated by State Environmental Protection Administration officials in early August, most people had only a vague idea about the term.

However, in less than two months, it has already seen progress.

Guiyang capital of Southwest China's Guizhou Province, has just implemented new regulations on developing a circular economy. The concept has now become tangible, at least in this city.

Local officials say the city has begun to implement strategies based on the circular economics idea. More than 20 industrial projects are being carried out; training programmes are being offered to government officials; and more steps will be taken to raise awareness among the general public.

As the first city to develop a circular economy on a trial basis since 2002, Guiyang has achieved quite something substantial.

The circular economy is believed to be capable of maintaining friendliness to the environment of economic development by making a full and efficient use of resources and energies and minimize waste discharge.

For a country eagerly seeking the path to sustainable growth, the perspective behind the circular economy is certainly what is being awaited.

That is why Ma Kai, minister of National Development and Reform Commission, the country's watchdog on the macro economy, iterated the importance and urgency of promoting a circular economy on Tuesday.

Despite the luring outcome of the circular economy, only a few developed countries have successfully implemented it in their industrial production and people's daily lives.

After all, a smooth integration of the circular economy into the whole economy demands not only government initiative and technological innovation in industrial production, but also public involvement and many other changing ideas which may take years to cultivate.

What the pilot project has achieved in Guiyang after more than two years is a verification of the authorities' prudence, as well as a determination to strike a balance between economic and social development.

This has certainly erased people's doubts about the possibility of introducing the circular economy to the country when it first heard of the plan: it is not a castle in the air, but one which has a solid foundation.

The experiences of Guiyang in the design and planning stages will provide valuable references to other cities when the new mode of economic growth is popularized in other parts of the country.

It took more than two years for Guiyang to finish planning, and it could take even longer to judge whether the circular economy functions as well as it should.

It would probably be even more time-consuming for regions of different natural, economic and social conditions to find a plan most suitable for them.

Remaining cool-headed and patient is a precondition for promoting the circular economy across the country without ruining its potential to benefit growth and the environment at the same time.

(China Daily September 30, 2004))


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