Provincial lawmakers review first environment report

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Lawmakers in east China's Jiangxi Province have a new task at this year's legislative session -- to review an environment work report, the first of its kind at provincial level.

The 13-page report was delivered to the plenary session of the Jiangxi Provincial People's Congress on Wednesday, by Wu Xiaojun, head of the provincial economic planning department.

It includes the progress made in pollution control last year and the plan for this year's work. Jiangxi is a pilot province for environmental progress.

According to the report, air and water quality in Jiangxi were much higher than the national average last year, with its forest coverage rate hitting 63.1 percent, second in the country.

"It is a precedent for the country to let lawmakers review the environment report in addition to the routine reports on economic and social development, budgets, legislation and justice," said Chen Rong, deputy head of the Jiangxi Provincial Environmental Protection Department and a deputy of the provincial legislature.

"I feel a heavy responsibility," he said.

The report also pointed out problems Jiangxi faces, such as the slow industrial upgrades, poor sewage treatment and smog.

Last year, more than 3,000 factories in the province were punished for breaking environment protection rules, said Chen.

"The move deserves applause," said Dong Xiaojian, mayor of Xinyu City which vetoed 120 industrial projects for failing to meet environmental standards last year.

"The government will face more monitoring from lawmakers and society," said Dong. "Public awareness of environmental protection will also be enhanced."

Liu Bing, an official with the ecological and economic zone of Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, said green industries could make Jiangxi a model of environmental progress.

"Workable plans for green development should be laid out and implemented," said Shen Yang, Party head of Wuning County.

Annual sessions of provincial legislatures take place every year ahead of the national legislative sessions in March.

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