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Local govt of Haikou keeps growth green
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Haikou remains a city with a green and healthy environment, cited by the World Health Organization (WHO), even after its rapid development over the past two decades.

Air quality remains at the top state level, while 40 percent of land within the city is covered by parks, lawns and other green growth. Eighty-five percent of its sewage is treated centrally.

Locals enjoy fresh air and morning exercise.

Apart from dozens of national honors, it became the first city on the Chinese mainland designated by WHO to host trial health operations.

Haikou has continued to protect the city's ecology through sound economic growth, said Mayor Xu Tangxian.

The government has built a number of parks, including People's Park, Jinniuling Park, West Coast Belt Park and Coastal Park over the two decades in which it achieved an average 14.6 percent annual growth in gross domestic product.

Quality of life for local people has also improved in other ways. By the end of 2007, the average annual income of urban residents was 12,289 yuan and that of a farmer was 4,582 yuan, showing local people are already enjoying relatively xiaokang - comfortable - lives.

The local government designated ecological villages in the countryside and provided tap water to 93 percent of all villages.

Fully 98 percent of all villagers are now covered by rural cooperative medical insurance. The lowest-income families receive government support to reach minimum living standards.

As well free compulsory education is provided to primary and middle school students.

The city itself has expanded from 25 sq km in 1987 to 91.4 sq km last year, growth that included sound public utilities that grew from nothing.

Public transport has become an integrated system that combines sea, land and air services. Meilan International Airport in the city has become one of the top 10 airports in the Chinese mainland.

Road have linked suburban villages to urban communities. The city is connected by rail-sea transport across the Qiongzhou Strait to Guangdong province.

"Haikou is now a bright pearl on the Hainan Island in all of the South China Sea," Xu said.

(China Daily May 5, 2008)

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