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National plan will protect land, waters

By Zheng Jinran | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-10 08:04

China has issued its first national plan treating environmental, development and resources issues in a comprehensive but targeted way, according to the individual needs of different regions.

The National Territorial Plan (2016-30) will guide all activities related to development, protection and treatment in the 16 regions it divides the nation into.

It is the first comprehensive and basic national plan covering all land and maritime territory, said Jiang Daming, minister of land and resources, on Thursday.

The plan relies on targeted tasks to better guard China's ecological diversity and natural resources, officials said.

"Some places in China have suffered from an imbalance in land development, from serious pollution, and are faced with growing restrictions in resources, which made the plan necessary," Jiang said.

To safeguard land and marine resources as each region develops, the plan lists 11 targets, some of which are binding, he said.

For example, total water consumption will be limited to 700 billion cubic meters by 2030 in China, and the rate of good quality waters in key river basins should be higher than 95 percent by 2030. Both are compulsory targets.

Comprehensive measures taken by Beijing include adoption of a new protective structure. The nation's 16 regions have been categorized according to five protection themes: environment quality, human ecology, natural ecology, water and farmland resources.

The themes are classified into one of three categories by their condition and needs - categorizations that are closely linked to the region's degree of development - with targeted measures to be applied.

For example, for developed industrial zones with severe pollution like the Yangtze River delta and Bohai Sea region, their main protection tasks would be focused on environmental quality, including air and water pollution controls. Development in those areas will need to be improved to keep the pollution from worsening.

Regions with a primary theme of farmland protection would have plans that control the occupation of farmland by other uses such as urbanization and replenish farmland.

The central government also will establish a performance appraisal system to help land supervision authorities assess implementation of the plan, Jiang said. The public also is encouraged to take part in its supervision.

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