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China approves new guideline on environmental improvements

Updated: Nov 17,2016 7:00 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — A national guideline on environmental improvements was approved at a State Council executive meeting on Nov 15, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

China will improve environmental protection and restoration to ensure a greener, more sustainable development, according to the new guideline for environmental protection during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

“We are committed to a development path that delivers economic progress and environmental improvement,” Premier Li said.

The Chinese government has put environmental protection and restoration at the top of the agenda. As President Xi Jinping once said, “We should stay committed to the basic state policy of conserving resources, protecting the environment like we protect our eyes, treating the environment like it is our lives.”

He stressed that protecting and improving the environment is essential to maintaining and developing productivity.

Premier Li once also said that a good environment is an indispensable part of people’s living standards.

China overachieved its goal in environment protection for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), with carbon emissions dropping by 20 percent.

The new guideline makes it clear that equally strong efforts are required both in environmental protection and restoration, while minimizing industrial disruption to the environment. It sets the goals of a more environmentally friendly way of living, considerable reduction of major pollutants, and a sounder ecological system by 2020.

Red lines will be drawn on emission control, and the government will encourage energy-efficient industries. It also gives priority to air, water and soil protection. The government will impose comprehensive controls on heavy metals, hazardous waste and poisonous chemicals.

Institutional innovation and modern regulatory measures in environmental protection and restoration are also required.

Investment and participation by local governments and business communities will be welcomed and the government plans to offer more diverse financing channels.