Hubei city re­bal­ances growth with green goals

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By YANG YANG in Xiantao yangyang1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Xiantao, Hubei prov­ince, plans to de­velop into a green city by changing the bal­ance be­tween eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion.

“We would rather slow down de­vel­op­ment than pol­lute the en­vi­ron­ment,” said the city’s Party chief, Hu Ji­um­ing. “We would rather have less tax rev­enue than re­tain com­pa­nies that harm the en­vi­ron­ment. We would rather of­fend ir­re­spon­si­ble bosses than say sorry to the peo­ple.”

More than two-thirds of Xiantao’s 1.55 mil­lion peo­ple are farm­ers, and most of its 2,538 square kilo­me­ters is agri­cul­tural land. Hu said the city is at a turn­ing point be­cause the tra­di­tional model of de­vel­op­ment is not sus­tain­able, con­sum­ing a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of re­sources, such as water.

Thanks to the dis­cov­ery that the re­gion’s soil is rich in se­le­nium — an essen­tial trace el­e­ment that is good for hu­man health — agri­cul­tural prod­ucts grown in Xiantao have be­come more valu­able.

In ad­di­tion to co­op­er­at­ing with China Oils and Food­stuffs Corp to plant high-se­le­nium rice, Xiantao has de­vel­oped a di­verse ar­ray of other plants, such as beans and broc­coli.

To make ef­fi­cient use of water, eels are also raised. Eels from Xiantao are pop­u­lar na­tion­wide, said Cheng Guo­hua, di­rec­tor of the Xiantao Se­le­nium-En­riched In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Of­fice.

“We have es­tab­lished an eco-friendly re­cy­cling sys­tem by rais­ing rice and eels to­gether,” Cheng said. “We al­ways YEARS ON put ecosys­tem pro­tec­tion ahead of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.”

Tong Guob­ing, leader of the Hong Yuanze Aqua­cul­ture Co­op­er­a­tive, said that rais­ing rice and eels to­gether is a more ef­fi­cient use of re­sources be­cause the stool of the eel pro­vides nour­ish­ment for the rice, and rice planted us­ing or­ganic meth­ods pro­vides eels with a good liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Vir­tu­ally all — 99 per­cent — of lo­cal res­i­dents sup­port the project, which is essen­tial to

build­ing a green Xiantao, Hu said, not­ing that the project was re­launched on May 3.

Xiantao has also made great ef­forts to pro­mote a healthy and low car­bon-emit­ting life­style among its res­i­dents, such as build­ing Eco Sports City, buy­ing 120 new-en­ergy buses and es­tab­lish­ing a ci­ty­wide pub­lic bi­cy­cle sys­tem.

Xiantao is one of the cities that have been changed by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s green de­vel­op­ment phi­los­o­phy rec­og­niz­ing clean water and lush moun­tains as price­less as­sets.

Xi has stressed the im­por­tance of pro­mot­ing green de­vel­op­ment and green life­styles to pro­vide a bet­ter bal­ance of eco­nomic growth and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

China’s ef­forts to pro­mote green de­vel­op­ment have earned global recog­ni­tion. The United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme be­gan tout­ing China’s phi­los­o­phy of eco­log­i­cal progress in February 2013, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

EN­VI­RON­MENT We would rather of­fend ir­re­spon­si­ble bosses than say sorry to the peo­ple.” Hu Ji­um­ing, Party chief of Xiantao in Hubei prov­ince

ZHANG DUAN / XIN­HUA

At­ten­tive chil­dren learn first-aid tech­niques for drown­ing vic­tims with the guid­ance of a doc­tor in He­fei, An­hui prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The city’s Wulidun Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ter launched a first-aid ed­u­ca­tion ses­sion for pri­mary school stu­dents dur­ing the sum­mer va­ca­tion.

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