China will strengthen efforts to improve environment quality and enhance environment governance during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), according to a plan issued by the State Council on Dec 5.
Improving the environment is one of the major issues for the world’s second-largest economy as the nation now focuses on the significance of both economic and environment improvement.
Industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization will expand further during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, which is also a crucial time to improve the environment.
The major target of the plan is to actualize an overall improvement of the country’s environment with green practices in production and daily life, less pollution, and stable biological diversity.
To enhance green development, efforts will be made to promote supply-side structural reform, reducing outdated overcapacity and improving energy efficiency.
Technology innovation will play a leading role in green development and environment protection.
Coordination of green development among different regions will be done across the nation, and international cooperation such as green construction of the Belt and Road initiative will also be carried out.
Action plans will be made to deal with air, water and soil pollution.
For example, air quality information from each province will be released regularly, and air pollution predictions will be shared across the country.
A unified plan, standards, regulation, and management regarding air pollution control will be set among the regions of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River, and Pearl River Delta.
A special campaign will be rolled out nationwide to monitor and curb emissions of industrial pollutants with technologies in place for enterprises to treat pollution, and failing to meet standards will result in fines and be made public.
Meanwhile, efforts should be made to enhance infrastructure, with sewage treatment available in all counties and major towns by 2020. Goals for waste treatment are 95 percent for urban areas and 90 percent for rural areas.
Clean energy projects will be made a priority, and the share of coal in total energy consumption will be reduced to 58 percent or lower by 2020, leading to a more clean approach.
Rural environment will continue to improve, as more efforts will be concentrated on waste treatment, contamination prevention in poultry farming, control of agricultural waste, and better utilization of straw.
Environment risks will be under routine management, with strict controls on hazards from heavy metals, dangerous chemicals, nuclear materials and radiation, safeguarding the ecosystem and society.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan, more work will be done to protect ecological security. The nation will build several ecological shields to safeguard regional environment, including the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau ecological zone, the Loess Plateau-Sichuan-Yunnan ecological zone, and the northeast forest zone.
Major ecological areas will be under better protection and management, and new national parks will be built. At the same time, the nation will step up efforts to protect forests, grassland, and wetlands.
In the next five years, more grain plots and pastures will be returned to grassland, and 14 million hectares of forests will be planted, providing 95 million cubic meters of timber each year.
While limiting and controlling soil erosion and desertification, the nation will continue to promote the green industry, restore urban ecosystems, and protect natural landscapes and biodiversity.
Rule of law and the market will be improved and highlighted to fight illegal actions, and efficiency of environmental protection will be improved by leveraging all related parties.
Local governments, enterprises and the general public will be mobilized into the environmental protection effort through various system arrangements, including lifetime accountability, emission permits, and promotion of green consumption.