During an inspection visit to south China’s island province of Hainan in 2013, President Xi Jinping exclaimed that the country’s 1.3 billion people need a beautiful place like Hainan for vacation. Green mountains, clear waters, clean seas and blue skies are the biggest resources Hainan has to transform itself into an international tourism island and should be carefully protected and cherished accordingly.
Hainan’s environmental quality in terms of air, water, soil and offshore areas is among the best in China, however, environmental problems are also on the rise as economic development and urbanization spreads, said Deng Xiaogang, a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress and director of Hainan's Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection on March 6.
According to Deng, Hainan will take three major steps in the battle against pollution put forward by the Central Government. First, securing the victory by defending the island’s blue skies. Hainan’s air quality is already among the best in China based on the level of PM2.5 - dangerous particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers - in the atmosphere. Last year the average daily PM2.5 density for the province was just 18, with its capital Haikou at 20 and the popular coastal city of Sanya 15.
“Finding out how to further improve the already satisfactory air quality is a challenge,” said Deng. He said that Hainan will enact more targeted and specific measures to prevent and control air pollution. A new standard for emissions by motor vehicles, stricter than the one currently used in Europe, will be applied across the province by the end of September this year. Hainan is also formulating a three-year plan (2018-20) for treating water pollution with a focus on eliminating pollutants in rivers, lakes and offshore waters.
The island also plans to resolve its current shortage of infrastructure for environmental protection, especially water and waste treatment facilities. More water treatment facilities are to be installed in rural areas and the classification of garbage in both urban and rural areas will be improved, said Deng.
Moreover, laws and regulations need to be improved to form a long-term mechanism for environmental protection, so that the green development strategy can be fully implemented in the province, Deng added.
Deng suggested giving priority to environmental protection in the evaluation of officials and to hold officials accountable for decisions which cause damage to the environment. In addition, all enterprises will be required to hold a waste discharge license by 2020.
“Hainan aims to preserve its undamaged ecology through these efforts and become a name card for the beautiful side of China,” said Deng.
Copyedited by Laurence Coulton
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