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Focus on 'green' transformation

By Zhao Kai (China Daily)

08:38, July 19, 2013

Aru Lake in the city of Bijie, Guizhou province. Known as one of the most colorful provinces in the country, Guizhou has made great strides in nature conservation. (Photos provided to China Daily)

Reforestation, relocation and industrial reform now underway

The government of Guizhou will maintain its current ecological approach to development because "sustainability plays a vital role in industrialization and urbanization while keeping the environment clean for future generations," said Zhao Kezhi, provincial Party chief and director of the Standing Committee of the Guizhou Provincial People's Congress.

Zhao said that creating a good living environment is crucial for local residents and the province will reach its goal through ecological rehabilitation and environmental protection.

Guizhou has made significant progress over the past few decades in improving its water quality, farmland, forest coverage and environmental governance, he said.

At one time the province suffered severe desertification due to its Karst landscape.

The barren area has been reduced by 29,000 hectares compared to 2005.

Official statistics show that forests now cover 42.5 percent of the province.

The figure is projected to reach 50 percent by the end of 2020. Covering more than 176,000 square kilometers, Guizhou in southwest China is endowed with rich natural resources and diverse cultures. It has a population of more than 34.7 million people.

Zhao said the province will continue its efforts to protect the environment while reshaping industrial development.

"Only when we reach the balance between nature and (economic) development can we go further and faster," Zhao said.

Early this year, Guizhou formulated a plan named "Five One Hundred" to construct 100 industrial parks, 100 efficient agricultural operations, 100 modern townships, 100 city complexes and 100 scenic spots.

Zhao said that during the development, the concept of ecological civilization will remain primary.

"All projects should be evaluated to ensure that there's no damage to the environment before they are included in the province's economic agenda."

Zhang Xinsheng, head of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and secretary of the Global Eco-Forum in Guiyang, said Guizhou should make good use of its ecosystem and resources to reshape the industrial structure. It has already established 12 industrial parks in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou, that follow the tenets of ecological construction.

By the end of 2012, the total output in the industrial parks hit 112.6 billion yuan ($18.4 billion), accounting for 62 percent of the city's GDP and 33 percent of the goods and services from all industrial parks in Guizhou.

Guizhou mapped out a plan last year to alleviate poverty by relocating 1.5 million people who live in mountainous regions. At an investment of 18 billion yuan, the relocation will take about nine years.

"This move will improve the living conditions of rural residents and fundamentally protect the environment," Zhang added.

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