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Full Text: National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) (8)
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13:57, April 13, 2009

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(7) Environmental rights

Upholding the principle of harmonious development between man and nature and the rational exploitation and utilization of natural resources, China will take an active part in international cooperation in an effort to create an environment favorable for human existence and sustainable development and build a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society to guarantee the public's environmental rights.

- By the year 2010, the emission of sulfur dioxide and the amount of chemical oxygen demand will be brought under control; the environment quality in major areas and cities will be improved and the deterioration of the ecological environment will be basically checked; and the environment is safe from nuclear and radiation hazard. In 2010, the amount of chemical oxygen demand and the emission of sulfur dioxide will be 10 percent lower than those in 2005, and the percentage of poor-quality surface water areas of Level V under the state's water-monitoring standards will be down by 4.1 percentage points from that of 2005. Meanwhile, the percentage of areas in the seven major water systems categorized as higher than Level III will increase by 2 percentage points, and the percentage of days in a year surpassing 292 days with better than Level-II air quality in major cities will be up by 5.6 percentage points.

- Implementing the National Environment and Health Action Plan (2007-2015) by improving the legal, management, and scientific and technological support systems related to the environment and health to limit the impact of hazardous environmental factors on health, reduce the occurrence of environment-related diseases to safeguard the public health. This will help realize the compulsory targets for environmental protection set in the Outline of the 11th Five-year Plan and the UN Millennium Development Goals.

- Strengthening the rule of law in the sphere of environmental protection to safeguard the public's environmental rights and interests. Special actions will be taken to protect public health by intensifying monitoring over and punishing enterprises that discharge pollutants against the law, and by investigating and severely punishing acts and cases of violating laws and regulations on environmental protection. Environmental safety checkups will be conducted continuously, focusing on enterprises in the petroleum, chemical and smelting industries located by rivers and in densely populated areas to eliminate potential risk factors that threaten the environment. Supervision and management of dangerous chemicals, dangerous wastes and radioactive wastes will be strengthened to ward off environment-related risks. To promote open government administration, China practices the system of publicizing state policies, laws, regulations and project approvals, as well as releasing information on the handling of cases related to environmental protection. The work of handling public complaints and petitions will be improved to bring the role of the "12369" environmental protection hotline into full play, and to widen and smooth out the channels for people to report and complain to the government.

- Doing all we can to make the ratio of energy consumption per GDP unit in 2010 around 20 percent lower than that in 2005.

- Developing renewable energy resources, and working toward the goal of increasing their consumption to 10 percent of the total energy consumption by 2010.

- Implementing China's National Plan for Coping with Climate Change by slowing down greenhouse gas emission. While enhancing energy utilization efficiency and developing renewable energy resources to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, China will strive to maintain the discharge of nitrous oxide in the processes of industrial production at the 2005 level, to increase the forestry coverage to 20 percent, and increase the annual carbon sink by about 50 million tons of carbon dioxide over the level of 2005. By 2010, the country expects to have 40 million ha of improved grasslands, have 110 million ha of degraded, sand-encroached and alkaline grasslands treated, and raise to 0.5 the effective utility coefficient of agricultural irrigation water. At the same time, China will put around 90 percent of its typical forest ecological systems and national key wild animals and plants under proper protection, to increase the percentage of nature reserves to the total land area in the country to about 16 percent, and to treat 22 million ha of desertified land. Half of China's total wetland area is to be satisfactorily protected.

- In the 2009-2010 period, an additional 100,000 sq km of land that has suffered soil erosion previously will be treated comprehensively, and 120,000 sq km of land will undergo ecological restoration. The ecologically vulnerable environment of such rivers as the Heihe, Tarim and Shiyang will be improved.

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