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UPDATED: March 12, 2013 NO. 11 MARCH 14, 2013
Toward a Beautiful Country
CPPCC members contribute proposals on a cleaner and healthier China
By Yu Lintao


In addition to making proposals, many CPPCC National Committee members have contributed a lot to the building of an environment-friendly society.

For Pan, also a member of the China Association for Promoting Democracy, one major duty is promoting environmental protection knowledge in rural areas.

Pan's team compiled a series of environmental protection brochures and donated them to rural primary and secondary schools, to help instill fundamental environment awareness among local residents. From 2010 to 2012, Hunan Province, where Pan works, has invested 2.28 billion yuan ($368 million) for environmental improvement in rural areas, benefiting about 2.3 million people in 1,046 villages.

Gao, an expert on soil protection, is working on a project extending "red lines"—policy jargon for a range of legally acceptable minimums, maximums and binding targets—across China's socio-environmental map.

"The 'red line' can be seen as one of the bases for building a beautiful country," Gao said. "This way, China can promote ecological protection for later generations."

It could also help the country build a benign ecological pattern to support its sustainable social and economic development, Gao added. At present, a trial of the project is being conducted in Jiangxi and Hubei provinces and Inner Mongolia and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous regions.

From the economic perspective, the restoration of desert ecology is not cost-effective for most investors as it needs large investment as well as a longer cycle for making profit.

Ecology is invaluable to Elion's Wang, as evinced by the anti-desertification efforts of his company. "Elion thus far has afforested about 5,000 square meters of desert," said Wang, "which is not only helping ecological restoration in Inner Mongolia but also helping to suppress sandstorms."

Since 1997, Elion has built 500 km of roads across Hobq Desert in Inner Mongolia, the seventh biggest desert in China. The company has also covered an area of 1,500 square km with pharmaceutical crops such as licorice and sand willow, producing 4 billion yuan ($645 million) of medicines.

In the meantime, the forest and grass Elion planted have sequestered about 10 million tons of carbon. The Seven Star Lake, which lies deep in the desert, has become a tourist attraction. Currently, Elion is striving to develop modern water-saving organic agriculture in cooperation with Israeli partners.

"Now Elion aims to expand the ecological protection area of the desert to 10,000 square meters in three to five years, which will also set an example of anti-desertification efforts for the whole nation," Wang said.

(Zhang Fang, Li Guowen, Zhang Xueying, Li Yuan, Yao Bei, Li Wuzhou, Wang Shuo, Yin Xing and Dong Yan contributed to this story)

Environmental Woes

Chief of the State Forestry Administration Zhao Shucong: China is still one of many nations to suffer heavily from desertification, with about 27.33 percent of its land occupied by deserts, ranking number one in the world

CPPCC member Sun Taili: Among the 131 rivers flowing through cities in China, 36 are severely contaminated, 21 are heavily polluted and 38 are of medium-level pollution

According to data of Beijing Meteorological Bureau, the average density of PM2.5 in January was 180 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing, about 30 percent higher than that recorded during the same period from 2009 to 2011

CPPCC member He Wei: Now the annual average trash output of citizens in China is about 440 kilograms. The total annual trash output of China reaches 400 million tons, ranking number in the world

Statistics from Ministry of Land and Resources show that about 10 percent of arable land has been polluted by heavy metal

Email us at: yulintao@bjreview.com

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