Shandong's coastlines better protected
JINAN: East China's Shandong Province has approved a total of six natural protection areas along its coastline which have effectively protected marine resources and the environment, the provincial government claimed yesterday.
Sources with Shandong Ocean and Fishery Department said that the six districts, covering an area of 101,000 hectares, are regularly inspected and monitored.
Companies along the coast that are found to be polluting the sea, including power plants and fish factories, are fined. They have also had to install equipment that cuts the amount of pollution they release into the environment, something not every firm is happy about.
To date, seven coastal cities and four key counties have established ocean protection stations.
At the same time, oceans and coastal areas are better protected since Shandong's Ocean Environment Protection Regulations took effect at the end of last year.
The practice helps protect sea life threatened by pollution, development and other human activities. Hou Yingmin, head of Shandong Marine and Fishery Department, said that the fishing industry and other businesses now have an obligation to increase the abundance and diversity of life in the province's oceans, bays, estuaries and coastal wetlands, and to make water cleaner.
In recent years, the sea has become a hot spot for economic development. Statistics show that in Shandong 220 hectares of ocean were reclaimed in 2003 for different industrial purposes. That figure was 605 hectares in 2004.
Last year the province charged just 92.9 million yuan (US$11.2 million), an average of 150,000 yuan (US$18,137) per hectare, to firms for the right to reclaim land.
These low costs have resulted in excessive and irrational reclamation projects, said officials with the department.
Since last year the province has introduced public bidding to evaluate marine land reclamation fees for different industrial projects.
(China Daily 04/05/2005 page3)