China has made positive progress on Yangtze River protection since the Yangtze River Protection Law was put into effect more than a year ago, according to a report submitted to the ongoing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for review Wednesday.
The Standing Committee of the NPC sent inspection teams to check the enforcement of the Yangtze River Protection Law, China's first legislation on a specific river basin, which came into effect on March 1, 2021.
IMPROVING WATER ENVIRONMENT
Since the promulgation and implementation of the Yangtze River Protection Law, all localities and departments in the Yangtze River basin have made efforts to improve the relevant systems, strengthen the prevention and control of water pollution, rectify prominent problems and intensify law-enforcement oversight, according to the report.
Since 2021, over 16,900 km of wastewater pipe networks were either built or upgraded along the Yangtze River Economic Belt. A total of 14,000 cases of irregularities were addressed in 2021, including arbitrary occupation, mining, random heaps and construction, said the report.
Coordinated efforts have been made by local governments and departments on protecting and restoring the ecological environment in the Yangtze River basin. For example, the construction of the Sanjiangyuan National Park and the Giant Panda National Park has been boosted, as a way to coordinate the optimization and integration of natural reserves in the area, said the report.
With these efforts, the quality of the aquatic environment in the Yangtze River basin continues to improve. In 2021, 97.1 percent of Yangtze River segments under the national monitoring program showed excellent and good quality, and the water quality of the main stream of the Yangtze River has reached Level II standard or above for two consecutive years.
The Yangtze Economic Belt contributes to 46.6 percent of the country's total economic output, achieving the improvement of environmental protection and development in parallel, said the report.
QUALITY ECONOMIC GROWTH
Upholding the principle of prioritizing environmental conservation and pursuing green development along the Yangtze River, competent localities and departments have made solid efforts to alleviate pollution, reduce carbon emissions and achieve the green transition in social and economic development, the report said.
A total of 209 national new-industrialization demonstration centers have been established in provinces and cities along the river, featuring advanced manufacturing industries, such as integrated circuits, biomedicine and engineering machinery.
Manufacturers of hazardous chemicals are being relocated from densely populated areas along the river. Altogether 562 of the 574 manufacturers on the relocation plan had been relocated or rebuilt by the end of August, according to the report.
Progress has been made on water conservation, with the utilization rate of the Yangtze River basin's water resources controlled at around 21 percent, the report said.
The report noted that over the past year and more, there are still some shortcomings and deficiencies in Yangtze River protection, such as shortcomings in water pollution prevention and control.
Besides, new problems have arisen during implementation of the law. For example, the fishing ban needs to be continuously refined, according to the report.
It noted that more efforts need to be made on spreading knowledge of the law and promoting its implementation, highlighting ecological restoration while promoting environmental protection of the Yangtze River in accordance with the law, and improving regulations and standards to fine-tune the legal framework for Yangtze River protection.