Speech by Minister Zhou Shengxian
at the 2010 National Conference on Environmental Protection
This year's national conference on environmental protection was held under the background that the whole environmental system was earnests in implementing the arrangement of the central government, actively combat international financial crisis and new progress was made in environmental development. The main tasks of the meeting were to further carry out the spirit of the 17th CPC Congress, the 3rd and 4th plenary sessions of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Central Economic Working Conference, speeches and instructions of leaders from the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, to correctly grasp domestic and international development of economy and environment, review environmental work in 2009 and make arrangement for 2010. Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Political Bureau, Vice Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulation letter to the conference. He noted that in 2009 the national environmental system had earnestly implemented the arrangements of the central government, actively participated in macro economic regulation and control and served well the general guideline of guaranteeing growth, benefiting people's livelihood and maintaining stability. The effect of emission reduction was remarkable. New progress was made in various fields ranging from pollution prevention and control, handling of environmental accidents, to supervision of nuclear and radiation safety and capacity building. He stressed that this year was the last year to work for the objective of the 11th Five-Year Plan. The task was very daunting. He hoped the environmental system would further implement Scientific Outlook on Development, promote ecological civilization, go all out in various fields and make breakthrough in key areas. Efforts were needed in mechanism innovation, environmental supervision and to settle prominent environmental problems and beware of environmental risks. The whole system should take ecological and environmental protection as an important tool to restructure the economy and improve people's well-being, boost the development of environmental industry and make more contributions to sound and fast economic development, accelerated transformation of economic development pattern and enhancement of people's life quality. We must study his instructions in earnest and implement them in full. Member of the Central Military Commission, Director of the PLA Environment Protection and Afforestation Committee, also Director of the General Logistics Department of PLA, Liao Xilong sent a letter of congratulation to the meeting as well.
Now I would like to elaborate in three aspects.
I. New Progress Made in Environmental Protection amid the Combat against International Financial Crisis
The year 2009 was the most difficult year for China's economic development since the new century and also a year of struggle and test of the CPC in its leadership of people of all nationalities. Facing the impact of the financial crisis, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council took account of the overall situation and made resolute decisions. The stimulus package was constantly enriched and implemented in all fields, which effectively curbed the economic downturn and took China to make a comeback first. While meeting the challenge of financial crisis, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have never relaxed environmental protection. Instead, environmental protection was taken as an important move to combat the crisis. Effort to boost the development of the environmental industry and cultivate new sources of economic growth has been accelerated. The central leaders were very much concerned about environmental work. They made key instructions on many occasions, charting the direction for environmental work.
Over the past year, the environmental system nationwide firmly implemented arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, adhered to the main task of exploring a new path to environmental protection and followed the guidance of doing a good job under the circumstance of international financial crisis. Environmental departments focused on key environmental problems doing harm to people's health, improved the capability of participating in macro economic regulation and control and achieved substantial results in pollution reduction, pollution prevention and control and capacity building. All tasks of 2009 were accomplished to our satisfaction.
1. Environmental protection played a more proactive and effective role in macro economic regulation and control, which is essential to guaranteeing economic growth and adjusting economic structure. As required by the central government, we have taken the combat against international financial crisis as a great opportunity to transform economic development pattern, restructure the economy and grow environmental cause. Three aspects topped our priority, i.e., serving the overall objective of maintaining economic growth, consolidating environmental achievements to prevent the rebound of pollution and strictly controlling projects characterized by energy-and-resource intensive, heavy pollution, overcapacity and redundant construction.
MEP was strict with project EIA approval. It unveiled Regulations on Level-to-level Approval of EIA on Construction Projects and Regulations on Internal Review Procedures for EIA on Construction Projects of MEP, which identified the approval power for central and local authorities and standardized and simplified approval procedures. MEP expediated approval of projects conformed to central government's policies and environmental access standard. It approved 400 EIA documents with a total investment of 2.7 trillion yuan, and denied or suspended 49 redundant projects that were energy-intensive and might cause serious pollution and overcapacity. These projects cost a total investment of 190.48 billion yuan. It suspended approval of such construction projects as hydropower project in the middle reaches of Jinsha River, construction projects of Huaneng Power Group and Huadian Corporation and steel projects of Shandong Province for serious violation of EIA regulations.
The work on EIA for plans progressed smoothly. MEP unveiled Regulations on Environmental Impact Assessment for Plans and issued Technical Guidelines for EIA for Plans. EIA for plans was carried out in the coastal economic belt of Liaoning Province, Jiangsu Province and key development zone of Hengqin, Guangdong. EIA of plan for subway transport in 30 key cities including Shanghai was promoted and EIA was under way for 66 of the 112 national coal mines. 10 of the 25 planned major ports completed EIA. Strategic EIA of five major areas has been launched which include Bohai Rim, west bank of the Taiwan Strait, Beibu Bay, Chengyu area and the energy and chemical area in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River, covering a total of 15 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) . Interaction system between EIA of plans and projects has been improved, making regional EIA for plans a precondition for EIA approval of high energy consumption and heavy pollution projects.
Inspection of law enforcement on seriously polluting industry was launched. Special inspection made on projects starting construction or put into operation since July 2008 and the paper industry found out 1824 projects without approval and 3167 projects against the three simultaneities. These projects were ordered to stop for rectification within the set time limit.
2. Notable achievement was made in pollution reduction and some indicators for environmental quality continued to better. Rough estimates showed that COD discharges and SO2 emissions in 2009 continued the downward trend. The reduction target for SO2 emissions set in the 11th Five-Year Plan was achieved a year ahead. The number of sections under national monitoring network with water quality between Grade I and Grade III surface water quality standard accounted for 48.2% of the total, up by 0.5 percentage points compared with the same period of 2008. Annual permanganate index at national surface water monitoring sections averaged 5.1mg/l, down 10.5% against that of 2008 and 29.2% over 2005 level. In terms of annual average level, among the 113 key cities for environmental protection, the proportion of cities with air quality up to or superior to Grade II national air quality standard jumped to 65.5%, up by 8 percentage points. The annual average level of SO2 among key cities stood at 0.043mg/m3, down 10.4% and 24.6% over the level of 2008 and 2005 respectively. The US, who has been closely watching China's pollution reduction effort through observation of its global satellite observation system concluded that the second half of 2007 saw a turning point in China's SO2 emissions, followed by a dramatic decline of SO2 concentration.
More effort was made to assess the target responsibility of pollution reduction. Verifications were made in 2008 and the first half of 2009 on pollution reduction in all provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and the five major power corporation. The results were made public after the approval of the State Council. Cangzhou, Hebei Province and other 7 cities and five companies including Tianjin Chentang Thermal Power Plant were publicly criticized for rectification within a set time limit due to prominent problems found out in the two inspections. Alarms were sent to 8 provinces (districts) for their slow progress of pollution reduction. Talks were held with local government leaders to provide guidance and strengthen supervision. Strict assessment resonated strongly. Local governments took innovative measures to strengthen pollution reduction. Hebei Province unveiled Regulations on Reduction of Pollutant Discharge, Henan Province introduced Regulations on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution and Guizhou City rolled out Measures on Accountability for Reduction of Total Discharge of Major Pollutants. Leaders from city (prefecture and county) levels were invited to talks, warned against poor performance in construction of sewage treatment facilities. Guangxi autonomous region sent notifications to 47 local officials for failure of planned construction of sewage treatment facilities of their cities or counties. In Shandong Province, officials who failed to lead the city (county) in completing reduction target were given a demerit or dismissed from office. Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi and Heilongjiang exercised regional ban on EIA of projects on cities (counties) where the pollution reduction work was lagged behind.
Pollution reduction programs and phase-out of outdated production capacity has made new headway. Last year, newly added sewage treatment capacity amounted to 13.3 million tons/day, and the cumulative treatment capacity added since 2006 has reached 44.6 million tons/day. Sewage treatment plants have been built in every county in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Henan and Guangdong. Jiangsu and Zhejiang also embarked on plans to build sewage treatment facilities in township level. Jiangxi, Guangxi, Hubei and Liaoning were making effort to ensure every county would have a sewage treatment plant. New desulphurization units in coal-fired power plants totaled 102GW, bringing the cumulative desulphurization capacity added since 2006 to 411GW, of which 181GW were added for coal-fired units in service. 26.17GW small coal-fired units were eliminated and the phase-out movement has kicked out 60.06GW installed capacity during the 11th Five-Year Plan period. Outdated production capacity in iron, steel making, coking, cement and paper industry totaled 20.1 million tons, 16.4 million tons, 18.09 million tons, 74.16 million tons and 1.5 million tons respectively. Supervision of operation of pollution control facilities continued to tighten up. MEP issued Circular on Strengthening Verification and Calculation of Pollution Reduction in Township Sewage Treatment Plants and Circular on Strengthening Verification and Calculation of SO2 Emissions of Coal-fired Desulphurization Units. These steps helped to regulate work related to maintenance and operation of pollution control facilities, documentation and filing, online monitoring, building of central control systems and distributed control systems. Lists on urban sewage treatment plants and desulphurization facilities nationwide were released for public supervision.
3. “Rehabilitation of rivers and lakes” was further implemented and breakthrough made in pollution prevention and control in key river basins and regions. Secretary General Hu Jintao made important instructions on pollution prevention and control in key river basins and regions twice last year in April and July, fully recognizing the result of this policy. We seriously carried out the guidance and held inter-ministerial meeting on national environmental protection. The special meeting targeted water pollution control in Songhua River, Huaihe River and the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River, where experiences were promoted and inspiration drawn to create new policy measures. Provisional Measures on Assessment of Implementation of Special Plans to Prevent and Control Water Pollution in Key River Basins was relayed by the General Office of the State Council, marking the establishment of assessment system for water quality at cross-provincial sections in key river basins. This system became a key instrument to promote water pollution control. Assessment of implementation of the 2008 plan for water pollution control in key river basins was conducted and the result was announced upon the approval of the State Council. Investment in pollution control totaled 71.49 billion yuan in 8 river basins, including Huaihe River, Haihe River, Liaohe River, Chaohu Lake, Dianchi Lake, Songhua River, the Three Gorges Reservoir and its upper reaches and the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River. The investment accounted for 44.7% of the total. Completed projects numbered 1270, taking up 46.8% and 785 were under construction, making up 28.9% of the total. 101 projects were added for pollution control in Songhua River which cost 4.119 billion yuan. Eco safety assessment of the nine lakes and reservoirs was completed. Investigations on the environmental conditions in urban drinking water source areas moved on smoothly, which for the first time, identified the target of environmental management in over 4000 centralized urban drinking water sources.
Based on the successful experience in delivering good environmental quality during Beijing Olympic Games, MEP organized investigation on air quality guarantee for Shanghai Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games. It made arrangements on joint prevention and control of pollution in the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. Shanghai and Guangzhou have produced guarantee scheme for sound environmental quality. Active effort was made to address the outbreak of influenza A H1N1 and guidance was strengthened on disposal of medical wastes. Old-for-new policy for automobiles and home appliances in a bid to prevent and control pollution ran steadily. Ex post supervision system on listed companies was put in place. We have seen intensified development in quantitative measurement of integrated improvement of urban environment and important progress in investigation of persistent organic pollutants. Use and disposal of hazardous wastes and management of chemicals continued to enhance.
4. Solid work was done in environmental law enforcement and emergency response management and effort concentrated on notorious environmental problems concerning people's livelihood such as heavy metal pollution. Integrated control of heavy metal pollution became our top priority. Since last year, MEP has received 12 reports of heavy metal and metalloid pollution accidents from Fengxiang, Shaanxi Province, Wugang, Hunan Province, Dongchuan, Yunnan Province and so on. These accidents led to 4035 cases of lead poisoning, 182 cases of cadmium poisoning and 32 cases of mass incidents, which aroused high attention of the society. Recently, a pipeline of refined oil in Huayin City, Shaanxi Province, run by CNPC, leaked large amount of diesel oil into Weihe River and the Yellow River; a petrochemical plant of CNPC based in Lanzhou exploded and lead pollution accident took place in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province and Dafeng, Jiangsu Province. If not dealt with appropriately, the consequence was beyond measure. MEP seriously implemented the instructions of State Council leaders under the direct guidance of Vice Premier Li Keqiang and made prompt arrangement. Work team and expert group were dispatched immediately to the site. Environmental emergency response monitoring was launched to identify the degree and scope of pollution and help local government with accident investigation and handling. 4217 victims were rescued and 44 polluting companies were ordered to shut down or stop production. 91 officials and corporate managers were claimed responsibility. The actions maintained social stability. The authority held a symposium on pollution control in the manganese-polluting, reviewing experience and achievements of the past years in environmental improvement and making arrangements on how to consolidate and intensify the effort. Moves were deployed to control pollution of 197 electrolytic manganese companies in 12 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities). MEP worked with nine departments for inspection of companies causing heavy metal pollution, checking 9123 companies, tracking down 2183 illegal polluters and shutting down 231companies. 641 companies were ordered to stop production for rectification. The General Office of the State Council has relayed Guidance on Strengthening Prevention and Control of Heavy Metal Pollution, which identified the objectives, key tasks of pollution control and guarantee measures like increasing investment.
Special campaign on environmental protection was carried out on a large scale. In last April, MEP joined hands with eight departments including NDRC to hold a teleconference, making arrangements on the special campaign of rectifying illegal polluters and safeguarding people's health. Throughout the year over 2.42 million person-times law enforcers were dispatched and environmental inspection of companies numbered 980,000 times. More than 10,000 environmental cases were investigated and brought to justice. 2587 cases were put on the supervision list and 119 people were held accountable. Environmental actions on post-inspection of drinking water source protection zone covered 3177 drinking water source areas, clamped down 831 companies and 220 outlets where pollution was discharged directly. 780 illegal construction projects were pulled down. A special inspection on construction projects serving the purpose of boosting domestic demand and guaranteeing economic growth examined 313 companies (in 23 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities) on the spot and found out 62 projects with environmental violations. Environmental law enforcement was launched along the Yangtze River and safety checks made for the celebration of 60th anniversary of the founding of the New China. We also had law enforcement inspection on large-scale raising farms which investigated 33000 plus companies and dealt with over 19000 environmental cases. 1035 large farms in the non-raising zones were shut down. We rolled out a set of regulations including Measures on Control of Pollution Sources within a Set Time Limit (on trial), Measures on Management of Environmental Cases on the Supervision List, Guidance on Exercise of Discretionary Power in Environmental Supervision and Law Enforcement and Measures on Environmental Administrative Penalty.
We strengthened whole-process management of emergency response. Last year MEP directly handled 171 environmental accidents, up 26.67% compared with that of 2008. On June 5, MEP opened tip-off hotline (010-12369) and by far 2817 environmental departments above county level nationwide have opened the line, providing a channel for public environmental complaints. Investigations on tailing pond were made to find out any hidden danger and a databank was established covering information on over 8000 tailing ponds. 56 environmental accidents involving drinking water safety that took place from 2006 to 2008 were followed up. We issued Opinions on Strengthening Management of Environmental Emergency Response and set up national expert team for environmental emergencies to promote the building of emergency response system.
5. Reward-based pollution control program helped rural environmental protection to unfold and conservation of natural ecology continued to enhance. Reward-based pollution control represents a major policy innovation in environmental protection as well as an outstanding program to benefit people's well being. MEP held an on-site meeting on rural environmental protection and demonstration of ecological development and made comprehensive arrangement to promote reward-based pollution control. General Office of the State Council relayed the Implementation Scheme on Carrying out Reward-based Pollution Control to Accelerate the Pace of Solving Notorious Rural Environmental Problems. MEP and Ministry of Finance worked out measures on special funds and project management for rural environmental protection and supervision was made on key provinces and cities. In 2009, the central government allocated 1 billion yuan for the special fund of rural environmental protection, which supported 1460 villages to improve environment and develop eco demonstration projects. Over 9 million people directly benefited from the policy and nearly 1.5 billion yuan of investment for rural environmental protection was spawned nationwide. A host of strongly complained environmental problems were solved and a good number of villages took on a new look.
We pressed ahead with ecological conservation. The national survey on soil pollution has completed data input and preliminary checkup of data from 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities), obtaining 4.7 million-odd real data and environmental data on 2.05 million field samples. Development of ecological demonstration area continued to intensify and the pilot work moved on in order. Assessment was made on 50 nature reserves nation wide and 16 national nature reserves were newly added. List of the second group of invasive species was prepared and investigation and supervision of species resources were intensified.
6. Fruitful results were achieved in the three programs for emission reduction and the early work of the 12th Five-Year Plan on Environmental Protection progressed smoothly. General survey on pollution sources, macro strategic study on China's environment and special research on water body pollution control are the three major programs for environmental protection. Over the past three years, the central government has allocated 862 million yuan for pollution sources investigation and local governments supported the effort with 3.116 billion yuan. Over 570,000 people nation wide were mobilized to survey industrial, agricultural, domestic and concentrated pollution control facilities targeting over 5.92 million points. A databank on pollution sources was established which helped to know about pollutants on their generation, treatment and emissions, pollution discharges from agricultural sources and the distribution of toxic and hazardous pollutants. The results of the survey have been approved by the leading group of the first national survey on pollution sources under the State Council.
The macro strategic study on China's environment successfully completed the set targets. It made accurate analysis of current environmental situation and the origin of environmental problems. It produced targeted and feasible countermeasures with one major outcome being the proposal of exploring a new path to China's environmental protection. Vice Premier Li Keqing fully recognized the result.
The special research on water pollution control entered the stage of full implementation. Proposal and review of all projects and research topics were completed, followed by the start of 32 projects and 230 research programs, accounting for 96.6% of the planned programs in the 11th Five-Year Plan period. Most of the demonstration projects, supporting projects and counterpart funding have been put in place and phased results were achieved in some projects and research work.
Mid-term assessment of the implementation of the 11th Five-Year Plan for environmental protection was basically completed. The assessment indicated that it was the first time that the implementation of the 11th Five-Year Plan for environmental protection met the timetable and some tasks were even overfulfilled. The main objectives are expected to be realized on time. This is the best performance in the history of implementing the five-year environmental plan. A work meeting was held on the preparatory work of the 12th Five-Year Plan for Environmental Protection, where general ideas were formed on the guidelines, principle, major objectives, key projects and policy guarantee.
7. Policy and legal system and capacity building kept on progressing, providing a stronger support for the long-term development of environmental cause. By the end of November 2009, the central government had allocated 34.3 billion yuan for environmental protection including 4.931 billion yuan under the direct management of MEP for special environmental programs, special fund for rural environmental protection, pollution reduction and capacity building and environmental improvement on the central budget list. Since 2007, a cumulative 6.06 billion yuan was allocated for the three major programs for pollution reduction. 787 automatic monitoring stations were established, reformed or connected and 110501 sets of equipment were provided for monitoring and law enforcement together with 6,114 vehicles (cars, ships and light boats) and 31,668 sets of information equipment. 306 monitoring centers for pollution sources have been established for automatic monitoring of 12665 companies. The capacity building program on national environmental information and statistics kicked off.
Environmental policies and legislations continued to improve. Pilot work on insurance against environmental pollution liability in Chongqing and Yunnan progressed smoothly. Hebei Province incorporated insurance against environmental pollution liability into its legislation and Hunan Province issued opinions on promoting insurance against environmental pollution liabilities. With the deepening of green credit policy, over 40,000 pieces of environmental information were put into the credit management system of the People's Bank of China. 2009 catalogue of high environmental risk products with serious pollution covering more than 290 types of products was set to be prepared and provided to economic departments. Steady progress was made in the reform of environmental taxation and policies and the research report on environmental tax was basically completed. Regulations on Collection, Disposal and Management of Waste Electric Appliances and Electronic Products and Regulations on Supervision of Safe Transportation of Radioactive Products were introduced. MEP handled 73 administrative reconsideration cases, an increase of 87% against that of 2008.
The supportive role of science and technology for environmental protection was reinforced. Report on the Development of Environmental Technologies, the first of its kind in China was issued and a number of key technologies for pollution reduction in chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgy and chemical fiber sectors have made breakthrough. Over 140 national environmental standards were formulated or revised, bringing the number of such standards to 1200. Much headway was made in the technical guidance on NOx of thermal power plants, heavy metal pollution and pollution control in rural areas. An inter-ministerial coordination mechanism on environment and health was basically formed. The national environmental consulting board and science and technology board played very important role in making major environmental decisions. Active effort was made to address climate change and a proposal was put forward on framework of GHG supervision and policy design.
Transformation of environmental monitoring was accelerated. Several documents were issued to step up the effort including Opinions of Strengthening Environmental Monitoring in the New Era, Outlines on Building an Advanced Environmental Monitoring and Early Warning System, Measures on Verifying the Validity of Automatic Monitoring Data of Key Companies and Measures on Assessment of Monitoring System for Total Discharges of Major Pollutants. Since July 1, the authority has released real monitoring data on 100 national automatic monitoring stations for surface water quality. The three-year action plan for management of environmental monitoring quality unfolded step by step. A work meeting was held on monitoring of water quality of trans-boundary rivers and the Scheme on Monitoring Water Bodies on National Borders was issued. The up-to-standard rate of waste water and waste gas discharged from companies under national monitoring network reached 78% and 73%, up 12 percentage points and 13 percentage points respectively. The average up-to-standard rate of sewage treatment plant grew to 70%, up by 9 percentage points.
Solid work was done in environmental promotion and education and international cooperation. MEP issued Opinions on Doing a Good Job in Environmental Publicity and Education under the New Circumstances. Promotions were organized centering on major activities and hot topics such as 6.5 World Environment Day and the 13th World Lake Conference in a bid to create a jubilant atmosphere that all parties care about and take part in environmental protection. Meticulous effort was made to prepare for the exhibition marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China and relevant celebrations. International cooperation and exchanges kept on expanding. International environmental conventions were implemented in earnest. Environmental protection is playing an increasingly important role in high-level dialogues with the US, Japan and Kazakhstan. Pragmatic China-Russia environmental cooperation is enhanced by mutual trust and mutual benefits and China's cooperation with Japan, Korea and ASEAN ushered in a new stage. We have also deepened cooperation with UNEP, Arabian and African countries.
8. Major breakthrough was made in supervision system for nuclear and radiation safety and stricter requirement was made for supervision management. With the high attention of the CPC leadership, we immediately sent work teams to Sichuan, Zhejiang and Guangxi to make investigations and proposed to strengthen supervision of nuclear and radiation safety to the State Council. Now the General Office, State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform is working on how to improve the supervision system.
Last year we reviewed and approved 25 documents on various national standards, guidelines and technical papers on nuclear and radiation safety and cleaned up over 200 related regulations and standards. Among the 9 supervision projects on nuclear and radiation safety incorporated into the 11th Five-Year Plan for Supervision Capacity Building, 6 projects have been completed or in the pipeline. The research and system testing of national databank on radioactive sources was completed, paving way for tightened supervision of applications of nuclear technologies. Occurrence of radioactive source-related accidents dropped by more than 50% compared to the average of the previous year and historical record. We made quick response to the likely impact of North Korea's nuclear test through environmental monitoring. Proper measures were taken to deal with the stuck radioactive sources taking place in Qixian County, Henan Province and Guangzhou City. Permits were granted to 8 units under 4 nuclear power projects. Nuclear power units were in safe operation. Research reactors and nuclear fuel recycling facilities did not cause any accidents affecting the environment.
9. The building of MEP, environmental team and environmental protection departments was constantly strengthened. Progress was made in the development of staffing. MEP established a satellite environmental application center and China-ASEAN cooperation center for environmental protection and increased the staffing size of China National Environmental Monitoring Center from 100 to 190 staff. The structure of work team was further optimized and more training was organized. Opinions on Large-scale Staff Training of National Environmental System from 2008-2012 was prepared and carried out. A cumulative 40,000 person-times received training in 2009.
Reform of local environmental departments continued to advance. Local departments grasped the opportunity for reshuffling to strengthen the role of environmental departments. Provincial EPBs have become local government cabinet. By the end of December 2009, EPBs of 26 Provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) had completed institutional reform with the average number of internal departments increasing to 12.1 from 9.7, a jump of 25%.
MEP completed study and practice of Scientific Outlook on Development in success. As arranged by the CPC Central Committee, we have worked out implementing schemes for rectification and done a solid job in the follow-up activities and review work, with a view to consolidating the results. All the 48 rectification tasks led by ministerial officials have been completed. The assessment result showed that 97% of the tasks ranked good and 2% ranked fairly good. Through the study, the staff has taken Scientific Outlook on Development as a political belief, truth of science and action guide. It has become a broad consensus among party members. To further enhance people's work style, the Party group required strict management of the agency and every one should his or her bit to build the agency into a clean and resource-saving department standing out in study, service quality, rule of law and advocation of harmony. The requirement was warmly echoed by all departments. Staff's morale was boosted and a favorable atmosphere of pioneering was taking shape.
While recognizing our achievements, we should also be clearly aware of the grave situation of environmental protection beset by many difficulties and challenges. First, environmental pollution remains serious. In spite of improvement of environmental quality in some areas, the overall trend of worsening environment has not been fundamentally contained. Second, the pressure of pollution reduction keeps mounting rather than easing. As the economy shows stronger momentum of recovery, more production capacity will be released, generating more pollution and even leading to a comeback of eliminated production capacity, equipment and companies. Third, potential environmental problems keep on emerging. The long-standing pollution from heavy metal and persistent organic pollutants loomed large and new pollution like haze in big cities and city clusters begin to stand out. Environmental accidents shoot up with higher occurrence of major environmental events. Fourth, environmental capacity building lagged behind. Improvement is needed in the development and implementation of the three systems for pollution reduction, so it is with capacity building in environmental supervision which still can not meet the need of the environmental tasks. Fifth, we should enhance the implementing capacity of staff. Some colleagues are flippant and lack sense of responsibility, creativity and pushingness. We must pay high attention to these problems and solve them through careful study.
II. Promoting Ecological Civilization and Exploring a New Path to Environmental Protection
The most impressive achievement of the past year that is imprinted on our mind is that we have deepened our understanding toward the theme of promoting ecological civilization and exploring a new path to environmental protection and put it into practice in an active manner. With more unified thought and stronger initiative to build ecological civilization, we kept on working out innovative ways and more effective measures to safeguard people's environmental rights and interests. As policy measures grow diversified, we are embracing a broad prospect of optimizing economic growth through environmental protection.
The CPC put forward the strategic thought of ecological civilization under the guidance of Scientific Outlook on Development and in the context of the grave situation where fast economic growth is achieved at excessive cost of environmental resources. The 17th CPC Conference identified the building of ecological civilization as a strategic task in the first place, followed by the decision of the 4th plenary session of the 17th Central Committee of the CPC that put ecological civilization as important as economic, political, cultural and social development. It was made part of the overall layout of the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. This provided a fundamental guarantee for us to iron out the prominent conflict between man and nature, strengthen environmental protection and promote sustainable development.
What ecological civilization pursues is a high-level harmony between man and nature, the environment and economic development and individual and society. The formation of this idea marks both advancement of civilization pattern and improvement of social system, a lift of values and transformation of the mode of production and life. As an advanced pattern of human civilization and part of the great cause of building a socialist society with Chinese characteristics, development of ecological civilization includes advanced ecological ethics, well-developed ecological economy, full-fledged eco system, basic ecological security and sound eco environment. The theory puts the law of nature and respect and care for nature as prerequisite and aims to deliver harmonious co-existence between man and nature, man and man, and between individual and society. Based on the carrying capacity of resources and environment and centering the objective of building a sustainable production mode, industrial structure and consumption mode and boosting the capacity of sustainable development, the idea of ecological civilization stresses consciousness and self-discipline, mutual dependence, enhancement and co-existence between man and nature. It holds four distinct features: in terms of values, ecological civilization requires to show equal attention and human care to nature; as for the means of practice, it embodies a way to production and life that is of consciousness and self-discipline; speaking of social relations, it drives the society toward harmony and in time span, the cultivation of ecological civilization takes a long-term and arduous effort. Through three decades of reform and opening up, China now is equipped with economic and technical foundation, social awareness and system guarantee fit for the promotion of ecological civilization. A great voyage beckons for enhanced effort of building ecological civilization.
The building of ecological civilization is the soul and orientation of environmental protection, which in turn serves as the major battlefield and fundamental step. The historical process of environmental protection will directly determine the progress of ecological civilization development. Any achievement in environmental protection constitutes positive contributions to the development of ecological civilization. The prime requirement for environmental protection departments is to advocate, lead and practice ecological civilization, focusing on the connotation and ways to build ecological civilization and to review and solve major environmental problems at a higher level and broader scale and to continue with the exploration of a new path to environmental protection.
The past thirty years of reform and opening up also witnessed leapfrogging development of China's environmental cause and unremittent exploration of the new path to environmental protection. China is quiet different from developed countries in national conditions, development stages, development objectives and tasks and problems to be solved. Therefore, it cannot repeat the denounced environmental history of the West that redressing the environment after pollution and seeking economic growth at the expense of environment. What we need to do is to find a new way out and keep on making innovations in a bid to explore a new path that combines environmental protection with economic development. We have been groping forward toward the goal in the past thirty years, working tirelessly with successful experience and sobering lessons.
Exploration of the new path to environmental protection proves to be a course of vigorous development loaded with boldness in reform and innovation and constantly seeking the truth. The baton is passed to one and another, which leads the new journey to advance with the times. In terms of the process of the exploration effort, it carries forward the past achievements and makes innovation. Each innovative step represents the distillation of past experience. The focus of the exploration is multiple and differs from phase to phase. We also see the inclusiveness and openness of its connotation. The new path is a systematic program that is comprehensive and highly open. The long-term and prospective task of exploration requires us to find a fundamental solution to reverse the worsening trend of environmental pollution and ecological deterioration. The avenues of exploration are targeted and practice-oriented which help us to solve current environmental problems based on the reality.
Exploration of a new path to environmental protection is a matter of theory and practice. The cognition process follows the dialectical law of practice, cognition, further practice and cognition. Each step further in our cognition, action and work represents our exploration and contribution to the new path to environmental protection. The exploration and practice only make our understanding toward the new path more and more comprehensive and profound.
1. Deepened understanding on the necessity and urgency of exploring a new path to environmental protection
China's environmental problems exhibit both common and unique features. Environmental problems occurred in developed countries in different stages of the centennial industrialization surged in China during its 30-year fast development since reform and opening up. These problems show five characteristics, structure related, compact and combined and on regional and global scale. As the process of industrialization, urbanization and the drive to build a new socialist countryside speeds up, the conflict between social economic development and environment grows sharper and sharper, leading to grave environmental situation and mounting pressure. A cost-effective, low emission and sustainable path to environmental protection is an inevitable result of history as well as a call of the reality.
As early as 1973, the first national conference on environmental protection held by the State Council put forward a guideline to protect the environment. In 1983, the second national conference on environmental protection identified environmental protection as a basic state policy. Eight systems for environmental management were formed at the third conference in 1989. In 1992, China led the world in developing top ten countermeasures on environment and development and made sustainable development a national strategy. The fourth national conference on environmental protection in 1996 made it clear that to protect the environment was to protect productive forces and took two major steps to improve environmental quality, namely control of total pollution discharge and green programs. The fifth national conference held in 2002 required us to treat environmental protection and development of productive forces as equals. In 2006, the idea of Three Transformations was put forward at the sixth national conference. The set of major decisions and our unswerving effort accelerated the process of the exploring the new path by leaps and bounds and accumulated rich experience. Senior officials once headed the environmental ministry are all pioneers of exploring the new path to environmental protection and we environmental workers from generation to generation are practitioners of this great cause.
In this new century, environmental protection faces new situation, tasks and requirements. The reasons for continued exploration of the new path to environmental protection are as follows. First, we have gained more profound and mature understanding toward environmental protection. Guided by the Scientific Outlook on Development, the central government raised a host of strategic thoughts, guidelines and tasks such as building ecological civilization, promoting historic transformation of environmental protection and rehabilitating rivers and lakes, which serve as a brand new guiding principle for environmental protection work. Second, environmental protection has entered a new stage where it has to overcome a lot of difficulties for environmental improvement and optimize economic growth. Recent years have witnessed notable achievements in environmental protection with environmental quality showing dramatic improvement in part of the country. But the overall worsening trend of environmental pollution has not been fundamentally curbed. It is a stage of confrontation between environmental protection and destruction, improvement and deterioration, like sailing against the current- you must forge ahead or you will be driven back. The concept of historic transformation of environmental protection ushered us to a new stage in which environmental protection will optimize economic growth. It is required to seek new countermeasures. Third, we have accelerated the implementation of the work thought of advancing environmental protection on all fronts and solving difficulties in key areas. We have adhered to this guideline since the 11th Five-Year Plan was carried out, identifying pollution control as top priority and drinking water safety as primary task. Emission reduction of major pollutants centers our work. We must adjust ourselves to the new requirement of the work thought and continue with beneficial exploration of tough problems on the new path to environmental protection. Fourth, the people hold high hopes for environmental improvement. We must solve problems that harm people's health and affect production and daily life in the first place, so that they can lead a life in comfortable environment. Fifth, our focused area and treatment patterns keep on expanding. Accelerated process of urbanization uncovers domestic pollution in urban areas and rural environmental problems. Old problems of environmental pollution remain unsolved whereas potential issues like heavy metal pollution and POPs loom large. To make a change from passive response to such problems, we must strengthen prevention at sources in a proactive manner. Sixth, we now face increasing pressure from the international community. To address climate change, China pledged to cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40%-45% by 2020 on the level of 2005, which implies tremendous financial and technical needs in the next 10 years to solve environmental and resource problems. All this requires us to make new explorations to ease international pressure on the one hand, and overcome the difficulties hindering long-term development on the other hand.
2. Intensified understanding on the direction and principle of the exploration of a new path to environmental protection
First, integration of environment and economic development and promoting the transformation of economic development pattern and economic restructuring is the call of the times. Environment and economy is a unity working through mutual connection, interaction and dependence. We cannot see them as divided and conflicting parts. The history of environmental protection tells how to correctly handle the relationship between environment and economic development. Environmental problems, in essence, concern economic structure, production mode and direction of development. It will be a futile effort to protect the environment without considering economic development or vice versa. Correct economic policies mean correct environmental policies and correct environmental policies should do good to economic development. We should give full play to the role of environmental protection in macro economic regulation and control and reaction mechanism. Based on transformation of economic development mode and economic restructuring, we will improve regional distribution through environmental capacity, optimize industrial structure through environmental management and better economic growth pattern by means of environmental cost so as to transform the pattern of economic growth, improve the quality of economic development and enhance the stamina of development.
Second, to put environmental protection in a more important position and accelerate historic transformation is the requirement of our core tasks. The key of doing a good job under the new circumstances lies in the realization of three transformations. This represents strategic, directional and historic transformation. Historic transformation reflects thorough implementation of Scientific Outlook on Development of the environmental protection system. It is correct judgement of the historical position of environmental protection and an important guidance on comprehensive adjustment on the relations between environment and economic development. The reality is that there remain piles of work to be finished as soon as possible according to the requirement of three transformations. To accelerate historic transformation, we must put environmental protection in a more important position, coordinate environment with social and economic development and make unified arrangement.
Third, in terms of value orientation, we must make environmental protection serve the interest of the people and solve notorious environmental problems affecting people's well being. People are the top priority of country governance and well-being is the primary concern of the people. Environmental protection is a major issue on people's well being, relating to their health and happiness. With the improvement of people's living standard, they have higher expectations on quality of life, which include, among others, clean water, fresh air, safe food and beautiful environment. We must stick to the principle that economic development and environmental protection are for the benefit of the people. Earnest effort is needed to solve grave problems harming people's health and provide them with clean water, fresh air and safe food. This is what the exploration of the new path aims at and should be achieved.
Fourth, the approach to realize this goal determines that we must live in harmony with nature and rehabilitate rivers and lakes. In early 2008, Secretary General of the CPC Hu Jintao called on people to rehabilitate rivers and lakes, which charted the course for management of water environment. It is the guiding principle for protection of water environment or even major eco systems. Water management can serve as a mirror to rectify Scientific Outlook on Development. Rehabilitation of rivers and lakes is the way to guide environmental protection by using the law of social and economic development and law of nature. The core of the policy is to put people in the first place and improve people's well being. It aims to revive the vigor of the water system and follows rule of nature as its precondition. Systematic management and comprehensive treatment are the major approaches to be adopted. The key of this effort is to control pollution sources, cut pollution and transform economic development mode. We need to show human care to rivers and lakes by identifying the mode and size of development based on their environmental and ecological carrying capacity. We should give full play to ecosystem's self-rehabilitating capacity and employ engineering, technical and ecological steps. Legal, economic, technical and necessary administrative measures will be fully used to solve long-standing problems of water environment from both the surface and the root. While rehabilitating rivers and lakes, we will embark on policies and measures to restore such major ecosystems as wetlands and grassland.
Fifth, in terms of sources of development, we must make system and mechanism innovation and try to form a strong synergy of environmental protection among society as early as possible. Systems and mechanisms are long-term instruments that are more fundamental, holistic, stable and effective. Institutional development is practical experience for enhancing environmental protection in the new stage. While exploring the new path to environmental protection, we should work hard to solve major problems affecting the development of environmental cause on the one hand, and dig into the underlying conflicts with perseverance on the other. Innovations in mechanisms, systems and institutions and bringing the initiative and creativity of stakeholders into full play, which may include local areas, departments, companies, families and individuals, could make strong synergy for environmental protection. It will be more a glorious mission and unshirkable responsibility for all staff of the environmental system. Science-based and perfect systems will inject infinite vitality and drive for the exploratory effort.
3. Deepened understanding of the framework of exploring a new path to environmental protection
First, we should view the relationship between the whole and the part correctly and develop macro strategic system for environmental protection that fits into China's basic conditions. In the primary stage of socialism, it is impossible to stop the development of economy for the sake of the environment. However, this stage will definitely not tolerate pollution. Economic development has to proceed along with resource conservation and environmental protection. Environmental policies should accommodate the national conditions and the needs of development stage. If policies are ahead of the times, they will increase the cost of economic development and environmental protection; if lagged behind, it will be hard to sustain economic development and environmental protection. We should lift environmental protection to the level of political will and combine it with other major strategies such as sustainable development, rejuvenating the country through science and education, transforming economic development mode and adjusting economic structure, regional development and industry reinvigoration. Taking account of all the major aspects and implementing plans in step will help to build a macro strategic system conducive to environmental protection.
Second, we should properly handle the relationship between prevention and control and establish a comprehensive system for pollution prevention and control. Environmental protection is connected with all links of production activities like production, circulation, distribution and consumption and is involved in various fields such as industry, agriculture, transport, construction and service. It has an impact on different social organizations, ranging from government agencies, schools, research institutions, to communities and families. To provide ultimate solutions to environmental problems requires us to establish a comprehensive pollution prevention and control system covering all aspects of society so as to alleviate pollution at sources and during the whole process.
Third, we should correctly handle the relationship between cost and benefit and improve the efficiency of environmental management system. If we are to realize a high-level harmony between man and nature, we should by no means wait for the nature to rehabilitate man-made damages. Instead, we must take the initiative and carry out effective environmental management to restore and improve natural environment in a scientific way. Effective environmental management means internal unity of environmental benefits and economic benefits, a combination of pollution control and ecological conservation and seeking best results of environmental governance at acceptable economic cost. We should rely on advanced technology and keep on making innovations in order to find a high-tech and cost-effective mode of environmental governance targeting regional problems and aiming at best result.
Fourth, we should develop a correct understanding on incentives and restraints and improve environmental laws, regulations, policies and standards that keep pace with economic development. Domestic and international experience shows that to improve environmental quality, we must make use of both incentives and restraints, provide guidance on environmental and economic development and promote positive efforts so as to improve related laws, regulation and policies. Full-fledged environmental regulations are useful to enhance the binding force of environmental protection and regulate social behaviors. Innovation of integrated economic and environmental policy will help to ensure effective allocation of resources and mobilize the public to participate in environmental protection. Improving environmental standards can improve the efficiency of pollution reduction, promote technological advance, industrial upgrade and economic restructuring. Currently, to establish and improve environmental regulations and policies is of utmost importance.
Fifth, we should look at unified supervision and division of work correctly and build up a full-fledged environmental management system. Good management generates achievements and productivity. We will establish a united front for environmental protection in the broadest sense and keep on improving environmental management system led by the CPC party committee, overseen by government and under the unified supervision of environmental departments and dependant on coordination of related departments and joint effort of all the social forces. The responsibility and accountability systems for environmental protection will be improved so that local governments are put the real position to account for environmental quality. We will make active effort to study the super-ministry system for environmental management, strengthen institutional development and environmental protection capacity of grassroots level, with a view to creating an effective decision-making and execution system
Sixth, the relationship between regulation, guidance and self-discipline should be well handled so as to form a social action system for environmental protection. Many hands make light work. Environmental protection is a lofty cause, joined, developed and shared by all. Not only external restraints like laws, systems and regulations are needed, but also internal elements of self-discipline such as ecological ethics and awareness are required to build up the cause. We need to carry out effective education, promotion and guidance of public opinion to enable the public to acquire ecological awarenesss and voluntarily choose green consumption and moderate consumption. More channels should be opened up to facilitate public participation in environmental protection. The time of overall environmental improvement of China will come when the whole society have a firm belief in ecological civilization.
The direction for the voyage has been identified and the waterway cleared. The cause of environmental protection is marching in at the new start in history. Exploration of a new path to environmental protection has become a common consensus and voluntary act. We should cherish the opportunity and make redoubled effort to deepen our understanding, keep on innovating and take proactive actions in order to advance the grand cause.
III. Doing a solid work in 2010
The year 2010 was a decisive year for people's to accomplish environmental tasks set by the 11th Five-Year Plan. It was also a critical time to design the 12th Five-Year environmental plan. Environmental situatation remains grave and the tasks are even daunting. Good performance of this year is of great significance for promoting the transformation of economic growth pattern and economic restructuring, fulfilling the tasks of the 11th Five-Year Plan and laying a good foundation for environmental protection in the 12th Five-Year Plan period.
The overall requirement of this year's environmental work requires us to fully implement the spirit of the 17th CPC Congress, the 3rd and 4th session of the 17th Central Committee of the CPC and the Central Economic Work Meeting. We should follow the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, thoroughly implement Scientific Outlook on Development, promote ecological civilization and actively explore a new path to environmental protection. Environmental protection should be combined with transformation of economic development mode, pollution reduction, strategic adjustment of economic structure, environmental governance and improvement of the people's well being. Our focus is to solve prominent environmental issues harming public health and sustainable development. To achieve this goal, we will give full play to the comprehensive role of environmental protection in optimizing economic growth, meet the pollution reduction targets of the 11th Five-Year Plan and make more effort in capacity building. We will further promote pollution control and prevention in river basins, regions and rural areas, properly handle environmental accidents, hence doing our part in boosting balanced, sustainable development of the economy and society.
Thus, we must pay attention to the following ten areas:
1. Earnestly implementing the decisions and arrangements of the central government and grasping opportunities to promote the development of environmental cause.
In a short time the State Council will make a special study on environmental work. First, it will listen to the mid-term assessment report on the 11th Five-Year Plan on Environmental Protection; second, it will hear the repot on the first national survey on pollution sources and publish the survey results after deliberation. We will draft documents on further strengthening environmental protection and try to garner the support of the State Council, so that the body will issue and see to the implementation of them. We will study and develop an indicator system for assessing the building of ecological civilization and relevant policy measures. Active effort will be made to prepare for the 7th National Congress on Environmental Protection. Advanced organizations and model workers of the environmental system will be commended at the conference.
Currently departments concerned have rendered even stronger support for environmental protection. It can be summed up in three aspects. First, the General Office, State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform is now working on further strengthening the supervision system for nuclear and radiation safety. The scheme for institutional structure and staffing is expected to be unveiled soon, which will give a boost to the organization. Second, NDRC is considering providing financial support for office building improvement of law enforcement and monitoring sections at the grassroots level, which means substantial capacity enhancement of county levels in the middle and western regions. Third, the Ministry of Finance and MEP are working on further implementing reward-based pollution control program to expand environmental improvement in the rural area. We must grasp the opportunities this year for developing environmental supervision capability of the county level and map out implementation plans, hence advancing environmental law enforcement at grassroots level and capacity building in monitoring and information technology application to a higher level.
2. Making greater achievements in pollution reduction on condition that the reduction targets are secured.
Pollution reduction is the most effective way to protect the environment. The target of SO2 emission reduction has been accomplished one year ahead of time but COD reduction still faces big challenge. Progress of pollution reduction varies in local areas. Some areas still have a big gap to fill. Never should we relax. Only with perseverance can we win the battle. Therefore, we must make more effort in pollution reduction this year, offsetting the newly generated emissions and strive for a complete victory. Local authorities should carry out General Work Plan for Energy Conservation and Pollutant Discharge Reduction faithfully and have officials in charge accountable if they fail to meet the target. All provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) should file a written report to the State Council on their performance of pollution reduction in the 11th Five-Year Plan period. We will strive to cut additional 400,000 tons of SO2 on the level of 2009 and 200,000 tons of COD based on the reduction target of the 11th Five-Year Plan.
Pollution reduction through economic restructuring will continue to progress. We will strictly implement national industrial policies and plans to phase out outdated production capacity. Outdated production capacity will be phased out in iron smelting, electric power, cement, coking and paper making by 20 million tons, 10GW, 50 million tons, 20 million tons and 520,000 tons. We must quicken our steps to work out supporting policies on power dispatch for energy-saving power generation in order to force obsolete units out of market as soon as possible. The restructuring effort is expected to help reduce COD and SO2 by another 200,000 tons and 450,000 tons respectively.
Pollution reduction will be carried out intensively through project development. Newly added sewage treatment capacity will reach 10 million cubic meters per day and that of newly installed desulphurization units will be 50GW. 30 sets of desulphurization equipment will be added for treating soot from sintering machines. Air pollutants emitted from coal-fired power industry, iron & steel, non-ferrous metal and cement sectors will be slashed. High attention will be paid to water pollution discharge from paper making industry, together with chemical, brewery and printing & dyeing sectors. We will urge the electric power companies to build standard and quality facilities for desulphurization to improve efficiency, step up construction of supporting facilities for urban sewage treatment to ensure the sewage treatment capacity are built more quickly. Centering the key task of keeping environmental facilities in normal operation, we will strictly monitoring the effective operation of established sewage treatment plants, desulphurization facilities and corporate pollution control facilities. These projects are expected to reduce 80,000 tons of COD and 1 million plus tons of SO2.
We will also strengthen pollution reduction through environmental management. Founded upon the capacity building project on environmental information statistics, we will accelerate networking of online monitoring systems of desulphurization facilities of coal-fired power plants, sewage treatment plants and key polluting companies under state control. Check and acceptance of such systems will be completed by June 30 this year and information will be announced on the operation rate of sewage treatment facilities and collection of pollution discharge fees on key pollution sources under state control. Verification of pollution reduction should be well orchestrated and more work is needed on supervision and warning and exposure of environmental violations. We will carry out policies on collection of sewage treatment fees, power tariff deduction and fine arising from lagged operation desulphurization facilities to promote companies to have intensive control of pollution.
3. Setting strict requirement on environmental threshold and promoting transformation of economic growth pattern and economic restructuring
The central government has reiterated the urgency of transforming economic development mode. Steady adjustment of economic structure is identified as the major task for this year, shifting from last year's focus on guaranteeing economic growth to this year's economic transformation. As an important tool to facilitate this strategic restructuring, environmental protection should play a more proactive and effective role in promoting this transformation.
We should carry out regulations on environmental impact assessment of plans faithfully and work with NDRC and other departments concerned to develop a guideline for EIA of special plans for national economic and social development as well as other regulatory documents for EIA of plans on key areas and industries. EIA of development plan for energy-and-resource-intensive and heavy pollution industry as well as key river basins and regions should be the focus of our attention. Strategic EIA of five major areas will be advanced which include Bohai Rim, west bank of the Taiwan Strait, Beibu Bay, Chengyu area and the energy and chemical industrial areas in the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River.
EIA of construction projects will be deepened. We must stick to two-pronged strategy to encourage admirable projects on the one hand and restrain some on the other hand. Projects will be classified into different categories for approval to better serve the overall social and economic development. To encourage some projects means that approval process will be quickened for eligible projects which may benefit people's livelihood and economic restructuring and procedures will be simplified for projects undergone EIA of plans. The restraining measure will target energy-intensive, heavily polluting and overcapacity industries according to national industrial policies. Such new projects must be stopped. Severe punishment will be imposed on projects starting construction without approval which will be brought out. EIA documents for projects involved in overcapacity, redundant construction industries and those involved in development of river basins and development zones will be rejected if they fail to carry out EIA of plans according to law. These sectors may include iron & steel, cement, flat glass, polycrystalline silicon, coal and chemical industry.
We will strengthen management of check and acceptance of environmental projects. We must make checks on more links and focus on environmental supervision of check and acceptance of key projects involved in major sectors, sensitive regions and issues. Environmental supervision on projects under construction will be promoted and a whole-process management system for check and acceptance will be improved. The procedures for check and acceptance will be further straightened out. From this year we will spend two to three years improving check and acceptance of three simultaneities.
We will launch a special inspection on major problems in the field of project construction. Focusing on government-funded projects, the campaign will scrutinize the environmental compliance and use of environmental funds of large scale investment projects since 2008. All construction projects approved since the 10th Five-Year Plan period will be checked group by group, particularly EIA on those involved in overcapacity industries approved during the 11th Five-Year Plan period to correct prominent problems.
We will perfect environmental standard system. We should accelerate the pace and ensure the standard system will be more coordinative, integrated and applicable. We will build standard systems for environmental quality, pollution sources monitoring and clean production to lead technological upgrade and Industrial restructuring.
4. Putting people's interest in the first place and concentrating on heavy metal pollution and other outstanding environmental problems harming public health
Heavy metal pollution is our top priority. We will follow the Guidance on Strengthening Prevention and Control of Heavy Metal Pollution and break up the tasks and objectives to implement all kinds of policy measures. A complete checkup will be made on companies discharging heavy metal pollutants and their neighboring areas to identify possible dangers and key areas, industries, companies and high risk population for pollution prevention and control. We will concentrate on solving a host of prominent problems. We will actively pilot soil pollution remediation and treat land with excessive level of heavy metal. By the end of this June, we will complete drafting of plan on comprehensive prevention and control of heavy metal pollution and report it to the State Council for approval. Measures to assess the implementation of the plan on comprehensive prevention and control of heavy metal pollution will be developed as soon as possible. We should strengthen monitoring of heavy metal pollution and carry out the Monitoring Scheme on Surface Water of the Manganese-polluting Areas.
We should do a solid work to guarantee safety of drinking water sources. Division and adjustment of protection zones for concentrated drinking water sources and zoning of drinking water source protection zones in 113 key environmental cities will be completed by the end of this year. We will develop measures for management of dispersive drinking water sources and have assessment of environmental status of surface water and drinking water sources in key environmental cities nationwide. Hastened effort is needed to introduce National Plan for Protection of Urban Drinking Water Sources and Plan for Prevention and Control of Groundwater Pollution.
We will continue prevention and control of industrial pollution. Clean production will be promoted among companies using toxic and hazardous raw materials or releasing toxic and hazardous substances during production. Catalogue on classified management of such companies and national catalogue on pollutants leading to environmental and health risks will be developed and issued. We will release guidelines on pollution prevention and control of key sectors and supervise local authorities to accelerate approval of clean production and check and acceptance of related assessment of key sectors for prevention and control of heavy metal pollution and overcapacity sectors. Regulations on Collection and Disposal of Waste Electric and Electronic Products should be implemented seriously. We will improve access system of hazardous chemicals and promote prevention and control of pollution from persist organic pollutants.
5. Strengthening the assessment and accountability system and promoting pollution control in key river basins and regions
Assessment should be strengthened according to the strict requirement set by Provisional Measures on Assessment of Implementation of Special Plans for Water Pollution Control in Key River Basins and the results will be sent to related departments. All provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities will assess water quality at trans-boundary sections (city and county boundary). The tasks of pollution control of Songhua River basins set in the 11th Five-Year Plan should be completed ahead of schedule and tasks concerning other key river basins should be finished as planned. Pollution control along the line of North-South Water Diversion Project should strictly follow the requirement in the plan. More effort should be made to devise separate pollution control plans for the nine major lakes and reservoirs. Eco safety assessment will be conducted in other lake basins, river basins and reservoirs.
We will improve the mechanism of joint prevention and control of air pollution on regional scale. Plan for Regional Control of Air Pollution should be carried out and joint prevention and control of air pollution in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province will be further improved. Regional pollution control will be promoted in the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and other regions. Networking monitoring will be initiated to ensure up-to-standard air quality during Shanghai Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games. Regional air pollution control and pollution control of key sectors will be the focus to deepen emission reduction of SO2 and particulates. Industrial and NOx pollution control will begin with coal-fired power generation and automobile industry. Comprehensive environmental improvement will be made with particular attention paid to regional pollution issues drawing strong concern of the central leaders and the public. Whole-process risk control and supervision of hazardous waste and medical waste will be strengthened. Investigation of pollution from centralized disposal of electronic waste and environmental risk assessment will be completed.
6. Advancing reward-based pollution control and stepping up environmental protection and ecological conservation in rural areas
We will further reward-based pollution control policy and make more investment in rural environmental protection. We should combine work on key points with that in other areas and promote the latter by drawing upon experience in the former. We will prioritize villages with protruding environmental problems in key river basins, regions and key counties for poverty relief, which have captured the attention of central leaders and media. We will combine spots and areas with areas as the main target for pollution control. In regions with a clutter of environmental problems, comprehensive pollution control will be conducted on a large scale and centralized pollution control facilities will be established. Dispersive and low-cost sewage treatment mode that is easy to manage will be promoted in scattered villages in poor and remote areas, so that environmental infrastructure like sewage treatment and refuse disposal facilities can be shared by both rural and urban areas. Pilot work on pollution reduction of domestic sewage treatment and large-scale animal breeding will be carried out. A target responsibility system for integrated environmental improvement in rural areas will be set up.
We will pay more attention to ecological conservation. Investigation and assessment of the situation and functions of eco system will be carried out and supervision and assessment of nature reserves will be strengthened. We will redouble the effort to protect soil environment. Supervision and inspection on environmental protection and ecological damage caused by resource development will be strengthened. The International Year of Biodiversity should be carefully prepared. The campaign for building an environment-friendly and resource-saving society and national model city on environmental protection and ecological demonstration area will progress steadily.
7. Ensuring environmental security and strengthening law enforcement supervision and emergency response management
Nothing is more difficult than strict enforcement of law in the world, neither is legislation. The campaign on rectifying illegal polluters and safeguarding public health will be deepened through sweeping investigation and rectification, focusing on hot issues such as heavy metal pollution so as to move heaven and earth to curb the growing trend of environmental accidents. More effort will be made to supervise handling of typical cases, investigation of responsibility and ex post inspection to ensure violations are fully corrected. The role of supervision centers in dealing with regional environmental law enforcement should be enlarged to help build a complete and orderly supervision system. Trial of environmental law enforcement checkup will be initiated on a large scale and coordination system be improved for trans-provincial dispute over law enforcement and environmental pollution. Corporate supervisor system will be actively promoted.
Emergency response management is the bottom line of ensuring environmental security. We must do a good job in investigation of environmental risk sources and hidden dangers of tailing pond and gradually establish a databank on environmental risk sources and platform for dynamic management of risks under differed levels and categories. Environmental contingency plan should be improved as soon as possible in order to harness the synergy of a region to handle emergencies properly. This year MEP will organize emergency response exercises once in Shanghai and Chongqing respectively. Local areas should have such exercises at least once a year. A lot of work is needed to improve emergency response in order to handle environmental accidents properly. We need to be serious with information collected from the environmental hotline (12369) and case investigation and live up to the promise that all claims are accepted and violations must be investigated; every incident is handled and the result reported.
We should ensure nuclear and radiation safety. The safety supervision system should be improved to meet the need of rapidly-developing nuclear cause. Effort will be made to expand staff size, enhance their technical capacity and consolidate management skills so as to strengthen supervision of nuclear facilities in commission and ensure safe operation. On-site inspection of nuclear facilities under construction must be reinforced to guarantee the quality work. Active measures will be taken to control radioactive pollution left over by history. Stricter requirement will be set on application of nuclear technology and management of electromagnetic radiation to ensure nuclear and radiation safety.
8. Targeting the main direction and making more progress in policy & legislation, environmental science & technology, monitoring, publicity & education and international cooperation
Active promotion of environmental legislation is needed. We will start legislation on protection of natural heritage, revise Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law and study the revise of framework of Environmental Protection Law. We will promote the review, coordination and amendment of Regulations on Supervision and Management of Safety of Radioactive Waste, Regulation on Prevention and Control of Pollution from Animal Breeding, Regulations on Management of Ozone Depleting Substances and Regulations on Management of Environmental Monitoring. Accelerated effort will be made to improve green credit, green insurance, green taxation, purchase and trade systems. We will actively involve ourselves in green taxation reform and work with financial departments to improve the design of environmental tax system. We will promote price reform of resource-intensive products and environmental fees, improve measures for compensated use and trading of pollution discharge permit and expand the pilot scope.
We will continue to strengthen the supporting role of environmental science and technology. The three major programs, innovation of environmental technology, development of environment standards and management system for environmental technology will be promoted. We will check the implementation of the plan for water body pollution control, facilitate project proposal on such major subjects as rehabilitation of regional air and soil pollution and environmental baselines and advance the application and development of national key laboratories. Investigation on environment and health will be launched in key areas. Preparation should be made to address climate change and a regulation framework on GHG emissions will be put forward. We will boost the development of environmental industries by promoting low-carbon product certification, low-carbon industrial parks and low-carbon communities.
We will further improve monitoring of environmental quality including supervision of pollution sources, environmental quality monitoring and emergency response monitoring. We will expand the application scope of remote sensing monitoring results of environmental satellites so as to promote the integration of space and land-based technologies. The three-year action plan on quality management of environmental monitoring will be carried out. Validity examination of automatic monitoring data will be carried out to improve the accuracy of monitoring data. National environmental monitoring network will be optimized to improve environmental quality assessment. Pilot work on rural environmental monitoring will start step by step.
We will give publicity to development of ecological civilization and the theoretical innovation and practical achievement of exploring a new path to environmental protection. More attention should be devoted to theme design, innovation of methods and mechanism improvement. We will give play to the positive role of media, NGOs who care for environmental protection and create a sound atmosphere among the public to press ahead with environmental work. We will continue cooperation with the US, Russia, Japan, Kazakhstan and EU, the framework of China, Japan and Korea and ASEAN and strengthen South-South cooperation with Africa and Arabian countries. We will broaden cooperation with international organizations like UNEP and ADB, actively implement environmental cooperation projects, promote negotiation of international environmental conventions and their implementation in China and steadily advance international cooperation on nuclear safety.
9. Making full use of the achieved results and promoting preparation of the 12th Five-Year Plan for Environmental Protection
We should sum up the environmental work in the 11th Five-Year Plan period, absorbing results of the macro strategic study of China's environment, the survey on pollution sources and special research on water pollution, intensifying research on major issues under the guidance of building ecological civilization and exploring a new path to environmental protection. Taking the basic work, talent training and guarantee work as the three pillars for enhanced enforcement of plans, we will identify and break down objectives, indicators, key projects, major reform and policy measures and report our thought on the 12th Five-Year Plan for Environmental Protection to the State Council in a bid to have the major indicators and projects incorporated into the 12th Five-Year Plan for Social and Economic Development and kick off the preparation of environmental plan as early as possible. A set of special plans should be developed quickly including prevention and control of pollution, control of total pollution discharge and capacity building, conservation of nature and ecology and rural environmental protection, which will contribute to a complete system for the 12th Five-Year Environmental Plan. We will coordinate related departments actively to solicit support for Comprehensive Plan for Environmental Protection of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A trial scheme will be made on environmental function zoning as an attempt of new environmental management featuring zone-to-zone management and category-by-category guidance.
10. Furthering the building of our thought, institution, work style, business and system and building up the capacity of environmental system
This year we will further enhance the building of our thought, institution, work style, business and system and build the ministry into a clean, innovative, harmonious and thrifty one that cares study and service quality in order to improve our solidarity, creativity, effectiveness of combat and implementation.
We will enhance our thinking. Led by the central study team of the leading Party members' group, we will promote the development of the kind of Party branch with a thirst for knowledge and encourage local environmental departments to carefully study the Party's policies, principles and political line. We will equip ourselves with the latest Party theory and cultivate a strong spirit powered by building ecological civilization and exploration to a new path to environmental protection.
We will further institutional development. The institutional reform will be improved according to the principle that government and business functions should be spun off from institutions. Institutions directly under ministries will be reformed by category. We will strengthen the support system by building up capacity of government departments and institutions. We should uphold the standard of promotion that those who excel in morality and intellectuality, particularly those with a noble mind, will be the best choice. We will strengthen leadership development of local environmental departments, providing more chances for excellent young staff to receive training and get promotion. Official exchange system should be promoted to inject vitality of our team.
We will pay more attention to work style and carry out the activity promoting the character, morality and exemplary role of CPC members. The system of investigation and supervision of designated organizations by officials will be implemented to better understand the ideas of the masses and solve the most urgent issues. We need to condense meeting documents and improve the style of official writing and meeting.
We will continue to improve our business. Measures should be worked out as soon as possible to introduce talents. We will make full preparation for the first national contest of environmental monitoring technology to enhance the capability of our monitoring team.
We will strengthen system development. Supervision system on administration will be improved and all regulations will be perfected and implemented. We aim to build an integrated system of responsibility, power and interests with mutual enhancement of self-discipline and supervision.
Now the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is hold its fifth plenary session. Secretary General Hu Jintao made an important speech, specifying requirement of building a clean Party. We will hold a special meeting to implement the requirement. The broader prospect the environmental cause embraces, the more we should guard against the inroads of corruption. We should carry out education on Party's discipline, character and Party conduct and educate officials to cherish honor, family, post and happy life. Key points that might lead to corruption will be identified according to the power exercised by environmental departments, namely environmental approval, administrative judgement, law enforcement, allocation of special funds, personnel management and public bidding and purchase. We will intensify assessment and take the responsibility system of building a clean Party seriously. Any reported case must be dealt with and corruption be punished.
Dear Colleagues! There goes an ancient Chinese saying "The last part of an endeavor is the hardest to finish". In the last year of the 11th Five-Year Plan period, all environmental staff, centering around the CPC Central Committee headed by Secretary General of Hu Jintao, should pioneer and make strenuous effort to win the final stage of battle. We should carefully plan for new development and live up to the expectation of the time, history and the people, aiming at outstanding achievements and making greater contributions to the grand goal of building an all-round well-off society.
(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)