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Environmental inspection helps China’s economic restructuring

Updated: Oct 19,2017 9:28 AM

Saihanba, a 74,000-hectare forestation project in North China’s Hebei province. The forest has become a green “Great Wall” for preventing desertification and protecting water resources. Every year, more than 500,000 tourists from home and abroad visit Saihanba, bringing in about 40 million yuan ($6.06 million) in tourist revenue. Saihanba is a vivid example of China’s ecological civilization.[Photo/ People’s Daily]

Questions are being asked about whether China’s increased air pollution inspections might affect economic growth, but the latest statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) indicate quite the opposite, that the campaign has not restricted economic growth in cities, it has pushed it.

The inspection campaign called “2+26” was started in April, in a bid to improve urban environments.

During its one-year period, inspectors are being sent to Beijing, Tianjin and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas, on 25 missions to check on the implementation of pollution controls and emissions standards.

Over the past three months, they have discovered 20,000 businesses with environmental issues and dealt with 8,000 environmental violations, and they have forced the enterprises involved to restructure and upgrade their operations.

In July, Shandong province in East China shut down Jinan Steel, which had an annual output of 12 million tons, to turn to service industries and modern logistic development and, its city of Jinan relocated 54 enterprises and removed 323 boilers from its old industrial zone.

Seven-Star Lake in Saihanba.[Photo/ People’s Daily]

Data from the first half of this year showed that Jinan’s GDP stood at 341.74 billion yuan ($52 billion), up 8.3 percent from last year. In the first eight months, the city’s fixed-asset investment increased by 15.2 percent, and tax revenue by 12.4 percent year-on-year, topping the growth across the province.

During the same period, the city’s industrial enterprise profits increased by 10.1 percent, year-on-year, as new growth forces replaced old ones for industrial development.

In the first six months of this year, Beijing’s GDP rose 6.8 percent, and Tianjin’s, 6.9 percent, as economic structure continued to optimize and developmental quality rose, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Economic indicators in Zhengzhou and Xinmi in Central China’s Henan province were also on the rise.