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Community action turns the land green
By Qin Chuan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-06 05:22

More than 110 communities across the country have been rewarded by State authorities for their environmental action.

Among the 112 applauded for their first green initiative is the Dejia Community in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province.

Within the community, efforts are being made to keep a sound environment and increase the awareness in environmental protection among residents.

"People have realized that each of them needs to take part and make a contribution," said He Yanhuai, Party secretary of the community at the rewarding ceremony in Beijing.

Over 200 schools and 100 families were also handed the "green" award from authorities including the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

The awards are part of the activities held in China to celebrate World Environment Day, which fell yesterday. China's theme was: "Take part everybody - and build green homes."

"The establishment of such green schools, communities and families has greatly raised public awareness in environmental protection and improved local environment," said Minister of SEPA Xie Zhenhua at the ceremony.

According to Xie, there are currently more than 23,000 such primary and middle schools at all levels, involving 15 million students. The schools, first established in 2000, offer environmental education to their students and at the same time adopt daily life management methods that are environmentally friendly.

And 2,400 communities have so far become "green communities" at provincial and city levels. The naming started in 2001.

In 2003, SEPA and the All-China Women's Federation called on families in the country to save water and energy, classify solid wastes and buy environmentally friendly products.

Xie said the 100 families rewarded are only "a small part" of all "green families" in the country.

"If every family becomes environmental protection-oriented, we can surely build a society in which human being lives in harmony with the nature," he said.

The minister added the ambition to "get green" is expanding to various fields, including government bodies, villages, hotels and hospitals.

In addition to green schools, communities and families, many cities in China are also trying to build a better environment.

To encourage those which perform well, his administration has so far labelled 47 cities as national models for environmental protection. The initiative was launched in 1997.

(China Daily 06/06/2005 page2)

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