East China's Anhui Province plans to invest about 279 billion yuan (US$33.6 billion) in 10 major ecological projects over the next two decades to turn it into a greener province.
The 10 projects include the construction of environmentally friendly industrial, agricultural, tourism and energy systems.
Anhui Governor Wang Jinshan said improvement of the province's environment would assist local economic development and diversify the range of products Anhui offers.
"It will also help improve the competitiveness of local companies," Wang said.
Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, said construction of an ecological province was part of Anhui's sustainable development strategy.
Xie added that the implementation of a sustainable development strategy has become a common goal for all countries and regions, as the global population increases rapidly, natural resources diminish, environmental pollution increases and the ecological balance deteriorates.
Wang said Anhui has always attached equal importance to environmental protection and economic development.
The province has basically eliminated its barren hill areas over the last few decades. A number of natural reserves and forests have also been well protected.
Last year, the province's gross domestic product reached 356.9 billion yuan (US$43 billion) and its fiscal revenue stood at 34.7 billion yuan (US$4.2 billion).
"This will lay the foundations for the construction of an ecological province," Wang said.
While relying on its own efforts, Anhui will also expand co-operation with foreign companies and institutions to build ecological projects, he said.
(China Daily October 15, 2003)