Jiangsu Province will constantly focus on environmental
protection while maintaining strong momentum in economic
development in the next five years, acting governor Luo Zhijun said
in his work report to the first session of the 11th provincial
people's congress last Friday.
The province witnessed fast economic growth in the past five
years with gross domestic product (GDP) increasing at an annual
average rate of 14.5 percent, one of the highest rates in the
country, official figures showed.
However, such economic development has had a negative impact on
the environment, Luo said.
Last May, more than one million residents in the city of Wuxi
suffered water shortages when a large-scale, blue-green algae
outbreak hit Lake Taihu, one of the city's main sources of drinking
The algae comprise microscopic organisms that are naturally
present in waters. They grow easily in polluted waters and can
starve the water of oxygen, killing aquatic life.
The water quality of the lake has improved, but the incident was
seen to have sent a signal to local government that the economy
should not grow at the expense of the environment.
"We've learned a lesson from the incident, that environmental
protection should take precedence over GDP growth," said Mao
Xiaoping, mayor of Wuxi and deputy to the provincial congress.
The provincial government will allocate more than 2 billion yuan
(US$277 million) to clean up Taihu lake this year, Luo said in his
Over the past five years, the provincial government has made
strenuous efforts to protect the environment while speeding up
economic development, Luo said
All over the province, 2,713 small chemical factories, one of
the main sources of pollution, have been ordered to close, while
many other heavy polluting enterprises have been urged to upgrade
their environmental protection facilities to be up to standards,
Similarly, 75 sewage treatment plants have been built in the
cities with a daily disposal capacity of 3.78 million tons of
wastewater, he said.
"We will continue to encourage technology renovation and push
forward industrial restructuring in the next five years," said
The authorities will also support research of technologies to
improve water and air quality, Luo said.
At the same time, the province will promote the use of
energy-saving devices and recycling, he said.
Measures are being taken to ensure that no new projects will be
approved before they meet all requirements for environmental
protection, Luo added.
To that effect, the metallurgy, chemical, building materials,
electrical power and textile industries will all be under close
supervision, he said.
(China Daily January 28, 2008)