In the Tibet Autonomous Region, the air is fresh and transparent,
and the environment as a whole remains high in quality. Upwards
of 90 percent of industrial waste gases, waste water and other kinds
of wastes in the region are concentrated in Lhasa, but the regional
capital city remains one of the cleanest cities in China in terms
of air quality.
No acid rain has ever hit the region's cities and towns. To date,
it is free from any accidents resulting from environmental contamination.
No radioactive and other perilous wastes have been located from
solid discharges in the region.
By the end of 1999, the rate of industrial discharges treated reached
90 percent, and the rate of solid wastes utilized hit 45 percent.
Some 232,000 hectares of cultivated land are free from industrial
Water resources in the Tibet Plateau account for 16.53 percent of
the national total, providing sources for several major rivers in
Asia. Environmental protection departments monitor these resources
annually. According to results of the monitoring conducted in recent
years, the water quality of rivers remains high and is better than
the water quality of those in China at large.
More than 1,600 lakes in the Tibet Autonomous Region are free from
contamination, and are still in a primeval status to the extent
that fish unique to Tibet are still found swimming merrily in lake
water. Humans frequent Namco and Yamzhug Yumcog, the region's largest
lakes, but their water quality is up to the class A standard.
Measures for Environmental Protection
government of the Tibet Autonomous Region set up special organs
for environmental protection in 1975, and a Committee for Environmental
Protection in 1990. In response to Central Government requirements,
the autonomous region, in the 1990s, enacted and promulgated a number
of rules and regions, including the Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous
Region Concerning Environmental Protection, the Regulations of the
Tibet Autonomous Region Concerning Protection of Forests, the Provisional
Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region Concerning Management
Over Grasslands, the Notice of the People's Government of the Tibet
Autonomous Region for the Protection of Aquatic Resources, and the
Methods of the Tibet Autonomous Region for Management Over and Protection
of Environment of Construction Projects. More than 20 of these are
associated with protection of wildlife.
For the protection of the environment, the Tibet Autonomous Region
follows the system of evaluating the environmental impact of all
construction projects that may cause pollution and the system for
the projects to be designed, constructed and put into production
alongside with contaminants treatment facilities. No factories are
allowed to carry on production with indigenous methods, and hence
cause serious contamination. Efforts have been made, and are still
being made, for technological renovation of existing enterprises
that contaminate the environment. They must all meet national standards
set for industrial discharges within a given period of time.
In the 1990s, seven enterprises in the Tibet Autonomous Region were
listed among 3,000 polluting enterprises in China. They were the
Yangbajain Experimental Power Station, the Lhasa Tannery, the Lhasa
Brewery, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Veterinary Biological Pharmaceuticals,
the Lhasa Thermal Power Station, the Nyingchi Woolen Mill, and the
Lhasa Cement Works. The Yangbajain Experimental Power Station, which
went into operation in 1994, discharged waste water amounting to
half of the total wastewater discharged in the autonomous region.
In 1995, some 20 million Yuan was invested to install facilities
for waste water recycling, leading to a decline in discharges ever
since. The Lhasa Cement Works used to be a major pollutor, whose
waste gas discharges make up 67.6 percent of the regional total.
Through technological transformation, the works has greatly reduced
its exhaust discharges. The other five enterprises have also undergone
The population of the Tibet Autonomous Region, small as it is, is
relatively concentrated in certain areas with the result that the
region has large areas without human habitation that cover an area
of hundreds of thousands of square km, along with pristine forests.
With Central Government support, the Tibet Autonomous Region has
since the 1970s increased financial input in the protection of wild
plants and animals. No hunting areas have been set up in areas that
are home to rare animals. From 1982 to 1985, the government of the
Tibet Autonomous Region approved the establishment of seven nature
reserves in Medog, Zayu, Gangxiang in Bome, Pagyi in Nyingchi, Zammo
Gully in Nyilam, Jangcun in Gyirong, and Qomolangmo Peak, with the
Medog Nature Reserve and the Qomolangmo Nature Reserve listed as
State-class ones. In 1993, the government of the Tibet Autonomous
Region approved establishment of six nature reserves for wildlife
in Changtang, Xainza, Yangjain in Mangkam, Dongjug in Nyingchi,
Changmao Mountain in Riwoqe, and Pengbo in Lhungzhub.
The 13 nature reserves are distributed widely in the Tibet Autonomous
Region and cover 325,400 square km, or 26.5 percent of the regional
total area. In addition, some other parts of the autonomous region
have set up 50-odd small nature reserves. A survey shows that the
number of rare animals there has increased by 20-30 percent or more.
For instance, the Zayu Nature Reserve has seen an increase of antelopes
from 600 to over 1,000. Bengal tigers numbered less than 10 in the
past, but now there are over 30. The number of Yunnan snub-nosed
monkeys inhabiting the Mangkam Nature Reserve has increased from
600 a decade ago to 700 today, making the reserve the world's largest
home for the species. Red deer and some other species, considered
internationally to be on the verge of extinction, are still found
in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
The regional government has decided to invest 130 million Yuan to
set up three nature reserves for the clay forests in Zanda, pillow-shaped
lava in Xigaze, and geothermal geysers in Ngamring.
In 2001, the Northern Tibet Changtang No-Man's Area, a nature reserve
at the Tibetan level, was promoted to be at the national level.
Covering an area of 200,000 square km and with an average elevation
of 5,000 meters, the area is one of the few areas in the world which
boast natural ecology. It is also the largest and highest zoo for
wildlife in the world.
In the 10 years to come, the area of the nature reserves in Tibet
will reach 40.39 million hectares, or one-third of the land area
in Tibet. The area of the ecological reserves add up to 3 million
hectares; treated areas suffering from water and soil erosion and
desertification reach 50,000 and 5,000 hectares respectively; and
forest coverage reaches 9.87 percent.