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State Council steps up efforts for wetlands protection

Updated: Dec 12,2016 5:17 PM

The State Council recently issued a circular, urging related ministries and local governments to protect and restore wetlands.

According to the circular, the total wetlands area across the nation should not be less than 800 million mu (53.3 million hectares) by 2020, which will be classified into national, local, and common wetlands according to location, ecological function and biodiversity.

The document called for clear separation of fiscal and spending rights between central and local governments on management of different types of wetlands. And national parks, natural reserves, and special marine preservation zones should be established to strengthen protection.

With efforts from central and local governments, the total area of wetlands should be preserved, with water from over 80 percent of rivers and lakes above the standard.

Meanwhile, a reward and punishment system should be established, with lifelong accountability for major government officials in wetlands protection.

According to the circular, use of wetlands should be strictly managed and controlled, and those who destroy wetlands should repair the area and be put behind bars if they commit crimes.

The circular also urged more legal, financial, and scientific support to protect and increase wetland areas, and strengthen supervision to maintain wetlands recovery and hold illegal actions accountable.