China passes law to better protect islands

09:01, December 27, 2009      

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China's top legislature adopted a new law Saturday to better promote development and protection of the nation's sea islands.

The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee endorsed the law of island protection at the end of a five-day legislative session after several revisions since it was submitted for the first reading in June this year.

According to the law, China will strengthen protection of eco-system, rational utilization of natural resources and sustainable development on the country's sea islands.

The law bans coastal reclamation to quarry stone or sand in both inhabited and uninhabited sea islands, and bans all construction projects, tree felling and tourism activities on uninhabited sea islands.

It also prohibits activities that could damage coral and coral reefs in the sea.

All development projects on inhabited islands will be subject to strict environmental impact assessments, and vegetation and indigenous species will be strictly protected, said the law.

The State Oceanic Administration and its branches would be responsible for inspecting work concerning islands protection, according to the law.

China has more than 6,900 islands that each has an exposed area out of water larger than 500 square meters and more than 10,000 smaller isles.

Source: Xinhua
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