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Xi'an launches Ecological Day to clean up local environment

By Wang Jinhui | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-25 07:57

To speed up high-quality development in a sustainable way, the local government of Xi'an, Shaanxi province, has made efforts in ecological construction and improving the public's awareness of environmental protection, said local officials.

"Ecological construction is a national action plan and everyone should play a part in the process," said Wang Tao, deputy head of the city's ecology and environment bureau, at the launch of the first Xi'an Ecological Day on Feb 15.

The establishment of the Xi'an Ecological Day is of great significance. It should be seen as an initiative for the public to participate in the city's construction of a green society, Wang added.

This year's ecological day focuses on the theme of "Love the Qinling Mountains, Love China", with a series of activities held throughout the city.

 Xi'an launches Ecological Day to clean up local environment

The ecological park in Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi province focuses on the preservation of natural environment. Tao Ming / Xinhua

Xi'an launches Ecological Day to clean up local environment

Xi'an launches Ecological Day to clean up local environment

Wang said the establishment of the Xi'an Ecological Day serves as a platform for the city as well as the public to preserve the natural environment, build an ecological civilization and realize high-quality development through green activities.

Zhang Xin, a volunteer at this year's event, said that the ecological day plays a vital role in improving the environment and helps to reach a balance between economic development and environmental protection.

It will also strengthen the public's awareness of the environment and encourage them to participate in the initiative.

Statistics from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China show that Xi'an was listed as one of the top 20 cities (among 169 key cities) in terms of air quality improvement in 2018.

According to data from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, Xi'an had 188 days with excellent air quality in 2018, an increase of eight days over 2017.

Xi'an won the titles of 2018 Green Development Demonstration City and 2018 Eco-City at the fifth Green Development Summit held in Beijing on Jan 20.

A representative from the provincial ecology and environment department said that the local environment had improved greatly in the past year.

Breakthroughs were made in preserving mountain plants, improving air quality, water and land.

Wang added that the prevention and control of pollution is a key battle for the government and the construction of an ecological civilization is a long-term goal.

"We will try our best to boost high-quality development and set up a system for environment governance," he said.

To improve the public's living environment and enhance residents' sense of happiness, Xi'an aims to build a demonstration zone for ecological civilization.

The local government will also launch a series of eco-activities to improve air quality and the natural environment by building parks, gardens and greenways, Wang said.

By 2020, the centralized sewage treatment rate in urban areas is expected to reach more than 98 percent, with clean surface water reaching 2,967 hectares.

Xi'an launches Ecological Day to clean up local environment

The tap water rate in rural areas is predicted to surpass 95 percent. Forest coverage is expected to reach more than 49 percent with forest reserves hitting 35 million cubic meters.

The added qualified reforested area and wetland restoration zone will total 6,000 hectares and 1,847 hectares, respectively.

The treatment rate of urban domestic waste could reach 100 percent. The coverage of urban and rural domestic waste achieves more than 60 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

The number of environmentally friendly villages in Xi'an is expected to reach 320.

Zhang Yan, a deputy of the Xi'an people's congress, said that the city should take environmental protection as a top priority, transform its industrial structure and promote green development. Key issues include tackling the shortage of water resources, strengthening the ecological protection of Qinling Mountains and restoring underground pipe infrastructure.

Zhang Guowei, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that through a combination of ancient culture and modernity, Xi'an has entered a golden development stage.

"We should seize the opportunity to build Xi'an into a livable city with a beautiful environment and ecological civilization," he said.

"The Weihe River is the tributary of our mother river, the Yellow River, and the Qinling Mountains are the backbone of our nation. Protecting the environment of Xi'an, located at the Weihe River Valley and back to the Qinling Mountains, is key to the nation's sustainable development," Zhang said.

Li Yongsheng, professor at the School of Marxism Studies of the Xi'an Jiaotong University, said that green development is a prerequisite for constructing a high-quality economic system. It is also a fundamental method to solve the environmental problems.

"We should strictly follow the principles of low-carbon development, advance the industrial restructuring and upgrading and boost green industries such as clean energy, ecological agriculture, high-end manufacturing and information technology," Li said.

It is necessary to establish a system to improve the environment with initiatives that perfect assessment and accountability, he added.

"We should also speed up the creation of laws and regulations on ecological civilization and build a modern mechanism for environmental control."

(China Daily 04/25/2019 page17)

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