More protection for Sanjiangyuan
State Council calls for involvement of private markets in conservation
The central government adopted a plan on Wednesday for the protection of Sanjiangyuan Natural Reserve and called for non-State sectors to participate in ecological conservation.
The plan was passed at a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.
Private markets should be given full play in ecological protection, and all society should be motivated to participate in ecological protection and construction, according to a statement released after the meeting.
The rehabilitation area in the natural reserve, where several big rivers in China originate, will be expanded from its current 152,000 square km to 395,000 sq km, the statement said.
“More work should be done to protect and restore vegetation,” the statement said.
Monitoring and the alarm system will also be improved, the statement said.
Song Xianfang, a researcher at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the plan is “quite timely”.
“The ecological environment in Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve is very fragile and is hard to repair once it is damaged,” Song said.
“The protection of the reserve needs great investment and cannot be done only by the local governments,” Song said. “The adoption of the plan by the State Council makes protection of it a national strategy, which can ensure more investment and implementation of the plan.”
Wang Jianhua, director of the Water Resource Institute under the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, said, “Sanjiangyuan Nature Reserve, as an important ecological region, is important not only for China but also for Southeast Asia and even the whole world.”
About 38 percent to 40 percent of water in the Yellow River, the country’s secondlargest, is from the area, he said.
“It is also very important for North China, which gets a great deal of water from the Yellow River,” he said.
The expansion of the rehabilitation area will surely help the protection of the water ecosystem, Wang said.
Both Song and Wang welcomed the central government’s decision to motivate society to participate, and praised the importance the government attached to the private sector.
“It will be quite difficult to protect the environment if we mainly rely on the government, ” Wang said.
Enterprises that have been prospering at the expense of the environment should shoulder more responsibilities, Song said.
The government should also give more preferential policies to the development of NGOs that are active in environmental protection, Song added.
The Sanjiangyuan Natural Reserve has benefited many provinces by providing water resources for economic development, especially provinces along the Yangtze River.
An eco-compensation system should be built to collect money from those provinces, which will be invested for the protection in the reserve, Wang added.
The State Council meeting also passed a plan to make Gansu province an ecological security shelter zone for Northwest China and the mainland, vowing to promote the rational use of water resources in the region and the optimization of industry structure.
The State Council also ordered protection of goodquality water in West China and the country’s five large lakes in East China be strengthened.
The council also heard a report on the treatment of wind- drift sand in Beijing and Tianjin.
Non- government sectors will be encouraged to participate in forest planting to reduce the sand and wind, and those that meet technology standards can get subsidies, the statement said.