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Shanghai puts two-fifths of landmass in ecological protection zone

Shanghai plans to put over two-fifths of its landmass and 1,000 square kilometers of surrounding waters into an ecological protection zone, according to a government draft released Tuesday.

The entire area will be placed under an "ecological red line," amounting to 4,364 square km, including a 1,189-square-km core area where no construction is allowed. The rest will be protected areas containing farmland, water and forest.

Eight urban greenbelts are planned. One of them, measuring ten times the size of Century Park, will be located in the district of Pudong, near clusters of banks, hi-tech firms, and trading companies. The Zhangjiabang greenbelt will feature a 200-hectare forest with tens of thousands of trees, according to the plan.

Shanghai's move came after China's central authorities pledged earlier this month to complete the drawing of an ecological "red line" -- the demarcation of its borders and calibration of the regions -- by 2020.

The strategy aims to protect the country's often fragile ecological system from worsening pollution, a byproduct of decades of breakneck economic development.

Shanghai, for its part, has increased its efforts on conservation. In addition to reining in emissions, wetlands, coastal areas and water sources around the city have been well preserved.

As a reward, the city's air quality has improved in recent years. According to Shanghai's environmental protection bureau, the number of days when air in the city was "excellent" or "good" was 276 last year. It is the best figure in the past four years and substantially better than that in northern China where smogs frequently hit during the winter.

Source:Xinhua

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