Hainan province plans to invest 19 billion yuan ($2.97 billion) in wastewater treatment in rural areas over three years to improve its rural environment, a government official said at a news conference in Haikou on June 5.
The investment will be part of a three-year action plan to rectify the rural environment and further enhance ecological civilization and rural revitalization, said Chen Xiaojing, deputy director of Hainan’s provincial Housing and Urban and Rural Development Department.
He said sewage systems will be installed in 2,698 villages and 93 farms around Hainan by 2020 to ensure progress in preserving the rural environment and make sure all villages become “clean, tidy and green”. The target for this year is to help 540 villages install the systems.
Deng Xiaogang, director of the Ecological and Environment Protection Department of Hainan province, said a system of management by river and lake chiefs－whereby individual officials supervise particular bodies of water－will apply to the rural areas to help safeguard Hainan’s rural water resources and environment.
The action plan also covers such issues as garbage treatment, toilet upgrading, infrastructure building, introduction of natural gas to rural households and rural beautification. It calls for concerted efforts from all levels, from the provincial government to village administrations.
“Hainan will build 1,000 demonstration villages to help improve garbage classification, incineration and recycling by 2020, synchronizing with the development of 1,000 beautiful villages in line with the provincial rural revitalization plan,” Chen said.
In the past three years, 22 garbage incineration power plants and 172 garbage collection and transfer stations have been built, provincial government officials said.
“The rectification action plan will first focus on improving the living environment in Wuzhishan, Baoting, Qiongzhong and Baisha, core areas of Hainan’s ecological resources, highlighted ecological protection areas and drinking water sources,” Chen said.
Lingshui Li autonomous county and Qiongzhong Li and Miao autonomous county in central Hainan were designated as pilot areas for the provincial rural environment improvement campaign. They will be required to provide effective experience and a development model this year that can be copied by other regions in Hainan from next year, according to the action plan, which has asked each city and county to hand in detailed working plans by the end of June.
It also calls for the enhancement of integrated planning in rural areas, improvement in village project construction management and progress in village regulation during the three-year campaign.
The action plan encourages the involvement of enterprises and social capital in projects aimed at improving the rural living environment. It says projects should be well integrated with the building of beautiful villages, special feature industries, leisure farming and rural tourism.
The tropical island province, a popular holiday destination for domestic and international tourists, has improved its rural environment and built beautiful villages in recent years, boosting rural tourism and the incomes of many farmers.
About 26,900 workers have been employed to help keep villages and towns tidy and clean, a local official said.
Kirmo Wilen, a Finnish photographer who has visited Hainan often over the past 10 years, said he was impressed by the environmental improvements in rural areas in Haikou.
“Every corner I went to was clean,” he said. “That is the biggest change compared with 10 years ago, and people have better environmental awareness－nobody litters.”