China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) will invest 3.5 million yuan (US$432,098) annually to reward those who make outstanding contributions to environment protection, with the highest premium scoring 500,000 yuan.
"Though the amount is very limited, it is China's highest in this field so far," said Qu Geping, head of CEPF, a non-government organization.
The award, titled "China Environment Award," is the third time that CEPF launched since 2000, but the largest bonus in past two times was only 100,000 yuan (US$12,340).
"We set up the award to encourage the whole society to contribute to environmental protection," said Qu.
In the past years, China has stipulated several environment laws, including "recycling production law," "prairie protection law," "Law on Desertification Prevention and Control" and so on, showing the government's concern to environmental protection.
"What pleased me is that environmental protection seems to root in people's minds, making them more environmental sensitive," Qu said.
CEPF, founded in 1993, is the first NGO foundation dedicated to environmental protection in China.
In 1992, Qu Geping, the first administrator of the China National Environmental Protection Administration, was awarded by UN the Sasakawa Environment Prize, one of the most prestigious international environmentalism prizes. He donated the whole award of US$100,000 to establish the CEPF.
(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2005)