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Anji targets UN environmental prize
( 2003-10-23 11:03) (chinadaily.com.cn by Han Lei)

Anji County has launched an environmental initiative to qualify for the UN Human Settlement and Environment Award in 2005.

It is the first county in China to launch such an initiative.

Anji, located in Northwestern Zhejiang Province, is famous for its bamboo. A scene from the Oscar-winning film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was shot in one of its lush bamboo forests.

Seventy percent of Anji is covered in forest. The county, which has about one million mu (6,660 hectares ) of bamboo forest, is able to furnish the market with 20 million branches of bamboo per year.

Local residents benefit greatly from the bamboo. Last year, farmers' disposable income topped 5,000 yuan -- higher than that of most farmers in the country.

Anji is also taking all kinds of measures to protect the environment, like shutting down 23 pollution-producing factories; no factory can begin production unless it passes an environmental test.

Tough measures have brought about a good ecological environment that attracts a number of enterprises from Taiwan, Hong Kong and foreign countries to invest in the county.

The positive environment also lures tourists from home and abroad. In recent years, the number of tourists to Anji and its tourism revenue registered a 40 percent growth rate. Last year, the county enjoyed more than two million visitors.

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