Con­cerns of growth at cost of en­vi­ron­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou zheng­caix­iong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Most ur­ban res­i­dents worry that China’s eco­nomic growth will come at the cost of its en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults of a sur­vey re­leased on Mon­day.

Of more than 3,000 ur­ban res­i­dents in­ter­viewed by tele­phone na­tion­wide in July, 78 per­cent said they care about the coun­try’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. How­ever, 71 per­cent said they worry the coun­try’s fast grow­ing econ­omy will de­stroy or dam­age the en­vi­ron­ment, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey con­ducted by Guangzhoubased Can­ton Pub­lic Opin­ion Re­search Cen­ter. All in­ter­vie­wees were older than 16.

An­other 62 per­cent said they be­lieve the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth will have lit­tle im­pact on im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liv­ing stan­dards.

As the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth shows signs of a slow­down, 49 per­cent said they worry their lives will be af­fected while 44 per­cent said they are not wor­ried at all.

Fifty- one per­cent of low­in­come earn­ers and 55 per­cent of mid­dle-in­come earn­ers wor­ried their qual­ity of life would be af­fected by the slow­down.

Peng Peng, a se­nior re­searcher with the Guangzhou Acad­emy of So­cial Sciences, said peo­ple’s con­cerns about the eco­nomic slow­down and the wors­en­ing en­vi­ron­ment are rea­son­able.

“A slow­down is ob­vi­ous this year and the coun­try’s en­vi­ron­ment is be­com­ing worse and worse,” Peng said.

“Govern­ment de­part­ments have to seek a bal­ance be­tween eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion,” he said.

Peng said rel­e­vant de­part­ments should in­tro­duce more ef­fec­tive mea­sures to en­sure the un­em­ploy­ment rate does not rise and to keep prices from ris­ing.

He said com­pa­nies should fur­ther up­grade in­dus­trial and pro­duc­tion meth­ods to re­duce emis­sions and pol­lu­tion while de­vel­op­ing the econ­omy.

Zheng Fen­ming, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Mod­ern­iza­tion Strat­egy at the Guang­dong Acad­emy of So­cial Sciences, said the govern­ment should in­crease in­vest­ment in in­no­va­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and re­search and de­vel­op­ment to en­sure healthy and sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the com­ing years.

“The govern­ment should pri­or­i­tize the de­vel­op­ment of en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly in­dus­tries that con­sume less en­ergy and re­sources in the years ahead,” Zheng said.

“The govern­ment and com­pa­nies in­vested too much in de­vel­op­ing real es­tate and other in­dus­tries that con­sume a great deal of land re­sources and en­ergy in re­cent years, caus­ing se­ri­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion,” Zheng said.

China’s GDP reached more than 24.8 tril­lion yuan ($ 4 tril­lion) in the first half of the year, a year-on-year in­crease of 7.6 per­cent.

The coun­try’s GDP is pro­jected to grow at 7.5 per­cent this year, a slow­down from the dou­ble-digit growth of pre­vi­ous years.

Guang­dong prov­ince, one of the coun­try’s eco­nomic pow­er­houses, led the coun­try with reg­is­tered GDP of 2.846 tril­lion yuan in the first half, 8.5 per­cent up from the same pe­riod last year.

Guang­dong has ranked first in GDP among all provin­cial ar­eas for more than two decades since the coun­try adopted re­form and openingup poli­cies in the late 1970s. Zhuang Na con­trib­uted to this story.

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