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Families benefit from protection campaigns (2)

(China Daily)    13:15, November 04, 2020

Visitors admire the lotus fields in Xiuzhu village, Jianning county, Sanming. SONG WEIWEI/XINHUA

In recent years, the city has added an average of 13,300 hectares of forest annually, and last year its forest coverage rose to just over 78 percent.

Liu said State-owned forest farms in Sanming are offering tree-planting, forest-tending and management jobs to more than 4,000 farmers, including those from poor families, to ensure rural families have a good standard of living.

Lin Damao, head of the Sanming bureau of ecology and environment, also underscored Xi's vision in guiding the city's protection campaigns.

Xi's emphasis of a holistic approach to protecting mountains, rivers, forests, farmland, lakes and grassland has been an important source of inspiration, he said.

Despite its high proportion of forest coverage, Sanming has faced challenges from industrial pollution.

The city used to rely a great deal on heavy industries, such as those producing steel and cement, and industry still accounts for more than 50 percent of the area's GDP, which reached just over 260 billion yuan last year.

Chen Rongnian, an executive from Fujian Sangang Group, said pollution from the company's steel plants used to be so severe that employees joked they could inhale particulate matter the size of a brick for a year.

Since the launch of the country's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the company has invested about 2 billion yuan to cut its emissions from pollutants, he said, adding that it has recycled all its discharged gas, including carbon monoxide, for power generation.

"For our employees, their biggest sense of achievement over the years has been the optimized work environment. Some have even said the company's plant is cleaner than their homes," Chen said.

He added that the company premises have even been certified as a scenic spot by tourism authorities-a strong endorsement of its commitment to environmental protection.

Lin Xinglu, secretary of the CPC Sanming municipal committee, said that while protecting the city's environment and ecology has always been a policy priority, the authorities are also looking to make better use of local resources.

The enhanced attractions of the city-including its top-quality air and water-have resulted in more businesses and individuals looking to explore opportunities brought by the rising number of tourists.

Last year, Qiu Liang decided to quit his career as the owner of an advertising business in Xiamen, Fujian, to open a hotel in Jixi village.

"Everything here is fresh and free from contamination, including what we eat, drink and breathe. This kind of experience is exactly what city-dwellers long for," he said.

More than 800 guests have stayed at Qiu's hotel since it opened in August last year, with most choosing it as a base for their vacations.

In 2015, Chang Sin Yee, a rural development planner from Malaysia, was invited to plan an upgrade for the village, with the aim of providing a tourism program offering "rural life and health maintenance experiences".

She said the local ecology and rich natural resources are key reasons she enjoys working in the area. "The variety of natural produce also excites me. I can often see glowworms at night," she added.

Zhu, the villager, said that only a few decades ago, so many trees were felled by villagers that parts of the mountains became barren and rainstorms triggered mudflows.

Efforts to afforest the mountains proved immensely difficult, as the soil lost its fertility due to erosion, a lesson villagers learned the hard way, he said.

"That is why we welcome the logging ban from the government. Everyone likes a good environment."


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(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Bianji)

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