Protecting the environment or economic growth?
That is no longer a question for south China's Guangdong Province.
"If we have to choose one of the two, we choose the environment," said Zhou Quan, director of the Guangdong Environmental Protection Administration's supervision and administration department, yesterday.
Zhou's remark was to explain why the authorities did not approve 26 new projects in the first half of this year. They were expected to use large amounts of energy and cause heavy pollution.
The figure represents about 10 percent of the total projects that were subject to the approval of the provincial environmental watchdog during that period.
A total of 7,135 new projects which did not come up to environmental protection requirements or were not in line with related industrial policies were not approved by environmental watchdogs in the province between 2002 and 2005.
That accounted for 2.74 percent of all projects applying for the go-ahead, official statistics indicate.
"We need a new economic growth mode that balances the environment and economic development," said Zhou.
The official added that the province's efforts to develop a green economy are five years ahead of many other places in the nation.
"We have drawn a very important lesson from the former practice of luring investment but turning a blind eye to potential pollution," he said.
There are also measures to deal with existing enterprises that cause heavy pollution.
Environmental protection administrations have been monitoring polluting enterprises. They have launched special campaigns to find and close down heavy polluters, especially those around water resource protection zones.
They fine such polluters or urge them to decrease emissions, giving them ideas on how to do so.
(China Daily August 31, 2006)