The Central Government's environmental inspection team recently released a report on Hainan Province, criticizing the south China island for not protecting the local ecological system and environment in the face of rampant real-estate development.
From August to September in 2017, the Central Government dispatched a team of senior officials and experts to Hainan Province to carry out a special inspection mission on environmental protection. On December 23, 2017, the working group issued the report based on their inspection tour. The report said that some local governments of cities and counties in Hainan Province pursued fiscal revenue from the booming real-estate development sector and ignored the importance of environmental protection and conservation, which has led to serious damage to the local environment. The inspection team also criticized the many reclamation projects for real-estate development which have destroyed original coastal ecological systems.
The Central Government's stern blame of local regulators shows the problems are very serious. As an island, Hainan has limited land resources for large-scale economic development. So, reclaiming land from the sea became a "consensus" between developers and local regulators. With local government acquiescence, various real estate projects involving reclamation were able to pass strict examination and approval procedures. But this will ultimately damage the local environment and undermine sustainable development.
Recently, the Government of Hainan Province has been correcting its faults at full stretch and prohibits all real estate projects that spoil the environment. The public hope the local government will not limit the remediation action only to real estate projects. The government should mend its governance and implement sustainable development in all respects.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Newsweek on January 22)