Qu Geping and Li Jinchan
QU GEPING and LI JINCHAN are with the Office of Environmental Protection of China's Leading Group for the Environment. This article is taken from a paper presented at an environmental workshop held in Beijing in September 1980 sponsored by the Leading Group and the United States East-West Center of Honolulu.
The world's most populous country seeks ecological and economic progress at the same time
From the time the People's Republic came into being up to the early 1970s, some work of environmental management was done, but on a very small, scattered scale. Environmental management still did not have its proper position on the agenda as a major issue in the country's development programme. It began to be viewed as vital only when the country took part in the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment in 1972 and gained much experience through this participation.
China drew lessons from the capitalist countries who had to fight environmental pollution which had seriously contaminated and damaged their environment in the course of economic development. It was realized that when undertaking economic construction it was necessary to pay great attention to environmental protection and learn to handle relations between development and environment, so that economy would develop in harmony with the environment.
In 1973, China held its first national conference on environmental protection, at which successful experiences in this field as well as serious problems were examined. An initial programme for protecting and improving the environment was charted. This conference has played a very important role in the development of the country's environmental protection.
In 1974, the State Council established, under its authority, the leading Group of Environmental Protection and its office, charge of the country's work on environmental protection.
In 1979, after several years of deliberation and preparations, China promulgated its "Law of Environmental Protection" and a series of related decrees. With law enforcement, a new stage in the work of environmental protection was to begin.
ATMOSPHERIC MONITORING NEAR A NUCLEAR REACTOR part of a drive to institutionalize environmental quality assessment
Eighty percent of the country's population live in the countryside and mainly use stalks, straw and firewood for domestic fuel. A rough estimate shows the annual consumption in China of such material exceeding 500 million tons. In terms of calorific volume, this would be equivalent to 400 million tons of standard coal. AS a result, nutrients from large quantities of the stalks, straw and leaves are not returned to the fields, causing a constant decrease of the soil's organic matter, hardening of its surface and loss of fertility. Since trees are felled for firewood, forests are destroyed, causing water and soil erosion and affecting the climate, thus seriously disturbing the agricultural ecological balance and natural environment. In order to solve this problem we have made energetic efforts to promote the use of two renewable energy sources - small-scale hydroelectric power and bio-gas.
Small hydroelectric power stations are built wherever there are small and scattered water-power sources which can be tapped. Their capacity may range from a few to tens of thousands of kilowatts. Such small stations are characterized by their simple equipment, low cost and sole use of the local water resources to serve the local needs. A country, a commune, even a production brigade are in a position to build such small waterpower stations. So far, 1500 of China's 2400 counties have built a total of more than 89000 such small power stations with a combined capacity of 6.3 million kW. Together, they generate 10000 million kWh of electricity annually, accounting for 40 percent of the total electricity used in agriculture More than 720 counties now mainly rely on their own small hydroelectric power stations to meet the local need for electricity. And 110 counties each have a total capacity exceeding 10000 kW. Their own small electricity supply network not only provides electricity for domestic lighting, but also supplies cheap power for agriculture. These stations are an important factor in the solution of rural energy problems and a component of the agricultural modernization drive. Statistics show that the power they generate at present accounts for only 5 percent of the verified potential of waterpower resources and many centres across the country are now busily building their own small hydroelectric power stations.
The bio-gas China is currently producing is obtained through fermentation of garbage, human and animal excrement, leaves and straws in sealed digesters. The main component of bio-gas is methane.
Because the raw material for bio-gas is easy to get, cheap, renewable and free from pollution, and construction of the fermentation digesters is simple and requires very modest investment, bio-gas has been warmly received by Chinese farmers. According to statistics, as many as six million bio-gas digesters have been built in the country's rural areas; in all, 35000000 people in the countryside are using it. As a form of cheap energy, bio-gas has quickly spread from use in households to agricultural production. Incomplete data show that 560 motor stations using bio-gas as fuel have been built, with a combined capacity of 6400 hp. In addition, 150 bio-gas electric power generating stations have been built, with a total capacity of 1600 kW.
Bio-gas development is an important way to solve the energy problem in rural areas. It has the following advantages: it meets the rural need for fuel, lighting and partially the need for power for processing farm produce; liquids and residue left after fermentation are excellent organic manure which can markedly improve soil structure and increase fertility of farmland; farmers, no longer worried by lack of firewood, stop felling trees indiscriminately and this enables reforestation to proceed more effectively; rural districts can save large quantities of straws and stalks to be used as livestock fodder; the manpower formerly occupied in collecting firewood, transporting coal and such chores can be used in developing agricultural production; as garbage and excrements are fermented in the tightly sealed digesters, a large amount of the eggs of parasites and disease germs are destroyed, thus helping to reduce the incidence of endemic disease in the locality.
Wood, stalks and straw are the fuel for 80 percent of China's population. The result is severe deforestation, loss of soil nutrients and extensive environmental damage. Small-scale hydroelectric plants and bio-gas generators are being encouraged as clean and stable sources of renewable energy.
For many years, Chinese researchers in desert control have worked in close cooperation with the people of the desert regions. They adopted a policy of overall planning, comprehensive control and appropriate measures of prevention and treatment relevant to the different localities and different types of deserts. For instance, both trees and shrubs are planted and pine stands are cultivated for the control of isolated moving sand-dunes in grasslands. While planting, desert areas are sealed off for growing grass and setting up grass enclosures for the purpose of controlling shifting sand-dunes near farmland. Small forests are cultivated between the dunes. Engineering measures as well as measures for anchoring the sand with grass are taken on top of the sand dunes. For the control of sand dam age to farmland in desert regions, sand-break tree shelterbelts are planted along the fringes of oases, tree networks are planted within the farming areas and the sand outside the oases is treated to enable the growth of grass.
Meanwhile, water resources in the desert regions are fully utilized for irrigation projects to tap groundwater resources, to improve the soil and plant tree shelterbelts to transform the deserts and create new oases within them. In 1978, China began planting a shelterbelt system which will ultimately cover more than 5.3 million hectares and run through northeast, northwest and north China. This gigantic project, called "the Green Great Wall of China," involves the participation of tens of millions of people
Chemical control has indeed played its role in killing pests and controlling plant diseases and protecting agricultural production. But it has also had numerous bad effects: contamination of soil, water and crops, thus damaging human health directly or indirectly; inducing chemical resistance in insect pests resulting in a resurgence of these pests. Many birds-and insects of prey have been killed, reducing natural factors for pest control. In the search for alternative effective ways to control pests and plant disease, Chinese agricultural scientists have introduced a number of biological control methods. Certain insects and pathogenic microbes are successfully being used to fight pests and diseases of crops and forests. Biological control has been gaining popularity very quickly because it is effective, economical, simple and safe to apply, does not pollute the environment and is harmless to human health. By 1978, biological control was being applied to an area of 100 million mou (6.6 million hectares) with insects being used to fight insect pests on 27 million mou (1.8 million hectares) and microbes to fight plant diseases on 30 million mou (or 2 million hectares). In addition, ducks were raised to kill insect pests on 10 million mou (more than 666000 hectares) of paddy fields.
Because China is vast in area, it is very rich in wild animal and plant resources. A preliminary investigation shows that there exist in China more than 30000 species of plants of higher varieties, including over 25000 species of seed plants; and more than 3700 kinds of vertebrates, including 1500 kinds of beasts and birds. Some of these are rare varieties in the world. The principle of careful protection, active propagation and rational utilization has been followed and management regulations have been formulated. Measures taken include setting up natural protection zones, domestication, cultivation and propagation. In so doing, such rare varieties have been saved from extinction as the giant panda, golden monkey, wild ox, Manchurian tiger, black-neck crane, red-crown crane, antelope, wild elephant and white-lip deer as well as such rare trees as the silver pine (Cathaya argyrothylla).
China's environmentalism is also based on need. Air pollution is severe in many cities. Diseases related to environment problems and heavy metals have risen. Factory wastes are affecting crops. Rivers, lakes and offshore seas are contaminated. Forests and grasslands are seriously damaged.
Urban garbage has always been a headache to the city environment. With the development of industrial production and improvement of people's living standards, it is increasing in quantity daily. Without timely disposal, urban garbage takes up useful space, pollutes the environment and threatens public health. We have adopted the principle of recycling and utilization of waste and garbage. In actual practice, the State buys back industrial waste, scrap and discarded equipment and domestic garbage such as broken glass, plastic, rubber, used cotton cloth, waste paper and bits and pieces of copper and steel. They are sorted out, rid of dirt and sent back to different factories for recycling as raw material. Even discarded vegetables, fruit peel and other rubbish are taken away by peasants from the city outskirts to make compost manure. Multiple utilization of garbage is aimed at turning waste into useful things and turning hazards into benefits.
Environmental pollution is fairly serious in China at present. In many populous cities, the sulphur dioxide and dust levels in the atmosphere surpass the norm set by the State. The waters of major rivers, lakes and offshore seas are contaminated by toxic substances to varying degrees. The groundwater of many cities is not only seriously polluted, but the water table has been dropping annually.
The urban noise level is also seriously high because quite a number of factories are located in residential districts. In some areas, industrial wastes are contaminating food crops, vegetables and industrial crops to varying degrees. And there is a rise in the incidence of diseases related to environmental problems: cancer, heart and lung diseases, fluorosis (a bone disease) and others resulting from toxicity of heavy metals. Environmental pollution by industrial wastes still has to be checked and, for the time being, it is worsening in certain regions.
On the other hand, damage to the natural environment and disturbance of ecological balance are becoming even more serious than pollution in industrial centres. Very serious damage to forests, grasslands and water resources has occurred in various parts of the country.
The late premier Zhou Enlai (Chou En-Lai), as early as the 1960s, emphasized time and again the importance of environmental protection. It was also according to his instructions that in 1973 the first national conference on environmental management was held and that government institutions of environmental management were established at all levels to study and control problems of pollution in industry, the cities and water resources.
However, during the 10 chaotic years from 1966 to 1976, premier Zhou's many directives on environmental protection could not really be implemented. This has been an important reason for the serious environmental pollution we are facing now.
Ecosystems were upset and laws of both nature and economics were broken. Over-emphasis on grain production went to such extremes as destruction of forests. Not only were forestry, livestock raising and fisheries damaged, but grain production fell. Short-term local gains were soon followed by reverses.
We stand for economic development and for protecting and improving the environment within this development. We do not agree with the pessimistic view which calls for stopping or slowing down the tempo of economic development so as to protect and improve the environment.
How to protect the environment while simultaneously developing the economy? The main way is to handle correctly the relationships between development of production and the protection of ecology, and between the immediate and the long-range interest. We have learned bitter lessons in handling these relationships. In the past, ecosystems were undermined because of the sole pursuit of economic interests, disregarding the laws of nature and the laws of economics. For example, over-emphasis on grain production, "taking grain as the link," went to such extremes as destroying forests, grasslands and hills for land reclamation, building farmland out of lakes, all of which damaged ecosystems. Some immediate gains might have been obtained by these means, but because the ecosystem was upset and the laws of nature violated, not only forestry, livestock raising and fishery were destroyed, but grain production was also adversely affected as a consequence. Furthermore, industrial development caused pollution: industrial products were obtained at the expense of the atmosphere, farmland and rivers, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery. In the distribution of funds for development, we used to pay attention only to the establishment of production projects, while neglecting to take measures for environmental protection. This is irrational in the long run and from an overall point of view, though it might be of local benefit for the moment.
In 1972 China formulated the following environmental guidelines:
· Overall planning and rational distribution while developing industrial and agricultural production
It is necessary to take into account the overall situation, trying to reconcile relations between industry and agriculture, cities and rural areas, production and the life of the people, economic development and environmental protection and maintenance of the ecosystem. The environment should be protected and improved in the course of economic development.
· Comprehensive utilization and conversion of harm into good
In the final analysis, pollution and damage to the environment are the result of irrational exploitation and utilization of natural resources and energy. Comprehensive utilization is the most positive way to solve this problem, that is, the utilization of a substance in many ways according to its many characteristics. This includes the multiple utilization of natural resources in the whole process of production, beginning with mining, screening and selection and processing, down to the final fabrication, as well as the recycling utilization of the waste residues in the process of production and from the people's everyday life. The recycling of discarded waste materials turns the useless into the useful and harm into good.
· Relying on the masses and mobilizing everyone's effort
Mainly, this means awakening and educating people to take initiatives in maintaining their living environment and protecting the natural environment. It also means:
- Relying on the masses to supervise the enforcement of laws, rules and regulations relating to environmental protection.
- Mobilizing and encouraging the workers and peasants to manage and improve their environment.
- Mobilizing all administrative departments to protect and improve the environment.
- Protecting the environment for the benefit of the people. In the final analysis, to protect the environment is to protect the health of the people and to develop the productivity of society.
A CHILD AND A 200-YEAR-OLD Dracoatomelea Dao IN A NATURE RESERVE forest consciousness in government policy
· Distribution of industrial centres and cities
The question of distribution is, in a broader sense, the question of the distribution of the social productive force, particularly the distribution of industry and agriculture. In a narrower sense it concerns the distribution of industrial enterprises. Because of the concentration of industry in cities, industrial expansion has caused serious problems for the environment. So, in our opinion it is better to build small and medium-sized cities, while controlling the further expansion of big cities. Our experience in the construction of small cities and towns shows that it is easier to manage the environment when cities are integrated with rural areas, when industry is combined with agriculture. To control the expansion of big cities, we have begun to build satellite towns around them. China has the greatest number of cities inhabited by over one million people of any country in the world. How to control the expansion of cities in the course of industrial development poses a very difficult problem for us.
Existing factories are the chief source of pollution in the country. Therefore, pollution control of these plants is the main task of China's environmental protection. The most important measures adopted in this respect are:
- Technical reform and new technologies, to minimize the consumption of raw materials and energy so as to reduce environment pollution.
- Strengthening of environmental management by putting the leading factors causing environmental pollution under control and by setting norms relating to the discharge of pollutants and the deadline for reaching the norms.
- Changing irrational location of industrial enterprises. Factories that pollute residential areas, scenic spots or places of tourism, or are situated upstream or up-wind must be relocated.
- Fines and or jail sentences will be given to those who are responsible for the unscrupulous discharge of pollutants that cause harm to health or economic losses.
Pollution control in newly built industries is very important. Our principle is "prevention first." The law requires environmental impact assessment for new, expanded or renovated construction projects. With the approval of the environmental agency and other concerned departments, the project will then be allowed to proceed. Environmental measures and pollution control installations must be designed, constructed and put into operation together with the main body of the construction, or else the project will not be approved for construction or production. In implementing such a policy, more capital funds will be needed. But it is still more economical than to wait until measures have to be taken to eliminate pollution after economic losses have already been sustained.
"The State protects the environment and natural resources and prevents and eliminates pollution and other hazards to the public."
FINGERED CITRON among many medicinal plants
China's environment laws crystallize our principles and policies on environmental management and are important means for implementing them. In the past, we had a one-sided understanding of the role of the socialist legal system in modernization and construction - seeing its role only in the class struggle, while neglecting its role in economic construction. Especially during the 10 years of turmoil, the few environmental laws and rules which remained in force were labelled "oppressive control" and were so wantonly attacked that laws and regulations in the field of the environment were almost completely abandoned. Now we have to change this state of affairs thoroughly. Legislation of laws and rules on environmental management is a component part of the work to perfect China's socialist legality. Violations must be brought to trial.
Public information and education about environmental protection among the people are two interdependent aspects of realizing a better environment in China. On the basis of our experience of building socialism we have formulated some laws and rules relating to environmental protection so that economic construction can conform both to natural and economic laws. Economic development and environmental protection can go ahead proportionately in a planned and harmonious way to promote the progress of the modernization programme.
In 1956, China promulgated "Sanitary standards for designing industrial enterprises," which include norms for air, water and soil. These apply to industrial, agricultural and residential areas. In 1959, "Sanitary regulations for drinking water" were put forth. These are the two fundamental bodies of laws and regulations for environmental protection from the 1950s to the 1970s.
In 1972, the principles of environmental protection were laid down. With the formulation of "Some regulations concerning environmental protection and improvement" in 1973, China's first legal document with all-round stipulations about the sphere and principles of environmental protection came into being and has played an important part in strengthening environmental management. In that same important year, "Regulations for protection of rare wild animals," "Standards for discharge of industrial waste: solid, liquid and gas," and a revision of "Sanitary standards for designing industrial enterprises" were enforced. "Sanitary standards for foodstuffs" were formulated in 1975. Article II of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, adopted in 1978, stipulates that "The State protects the environment and natural resources and prevents and eliminates pollution and other hazards to the public." It was the first time environmental protection was formally included in the fundamental law of China. In 1979, the Standing Committee of the Fifth National People's Congress approved the "Environmental protection law of the People's Republic of China" and put it forth for trial implementation. It also approved the "Forestry law of the People's Republic of China (tentative)," "Regulations for protection of aquatic resources of the People's Republic of China," "Standards for quality of water for farmland irrigation," "Standards for quality of water for fishery," "Standards for safety in using insecticides." China also promulgated "Management regulations for ships of foreign countries," and joined the international convention of civil responsibilities for oil pollution and damages. In 1980, it joined the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora. The promulgation of these laws underscored the fact that China's work in environmental protection has entered a stage of law enforcement.
Apart from supplementing and revising certain existing regulations, stipulations and standards, China is preparing additional new environmental laws and regulations such as the law on soil, a law on grassland, a law on water and soil conservation, a law on prevention and protection against air pollution, a law on prevention and protection against water pollution, a law on environmental protection of the sea and regulations for the environmental protection of the Changjiang, Huanghe, Sunghua, Ziangjiang and Haibo rivers, lakes Taihu and Dianchi, Boahi bay and other territorial seas; regulations for the protection of rare wild plants; administrative regulations for projects of capital construction and technological measures; regulations for charging fees for discharge of pollutants, and others.
The first version of China's environmental protection law is an important measure to strengthen socialist legality and ensure the success of China's socialist modernization programme. Proceeding from the actual conditions in the country and learning lessons and experience from the environment legislation of foreign countries, it stipulates the principles, policies, basic tenets, management organizations and their functions and powers, policies and measures for prevention and protection against environmental pollution, as well as important management methods. The law is the basic ground for conducting the work of environmental protection and for making detailed rules and regulations.
The environmental protection law also specifies environmental protection for different areas: the atmosphere, water, land, mineral resources, forests, grassland, wildlife, wild plants, aquatic life, historic sites, scenic spots for sightseeing, hot springs, health resorts, natural conservation areas, residential districts, natural environment, natural resources and environment relating to living quarters.
In discussing the natural environment, we said earlier that it covers six areas: land, water and aquatic flora and fauna, mineral resources, forests, grassland, and resources of wildlife and plants. The chapter concerning pollution control and other hazards to the public stipulates nine kinds of pollutants to be dealt with: waste gas, waste water, solid waste, dust, garbage, radioactive material, noise, vibration and odours.
We have spent several years legislating the environment, but enforcement is more difficult and complicated. In the meantime we have to strengthen legal education. We will also have to concrete rules and standards that can help to enforce environmental laws. More specifically, we must now create monitoring, supervision, inspection and law enforcement agencies.
Enterprises are encouraged to set norms and to take initiatives in matters of pollution control and environmental protection. Management is then judged not only according to economic successes but also by the condition of the environment.
Environmental protection is an undertaking arising in the wake of economic growth and therefore should be managed in accordance with economic law. Apart from encouraging enterprises to take initiatives for controlling pollution and preserving the environment, which would be to their economic advantage, there should be external pressure on the enterprises to make them aware of their economic responsibilities and show concern for environmental protection.
China practices a socialist planned economy, and every effort is made to enable all economic undertakings to develop in a planned and proportion ate way. Environmental protection is a component of the national economy and should therefore take its proper place in it. In the past, failure to include an environmental consciousness in State planning resulted in environmental pollution and deterioration. It will take a very long time to adopt the remedial measures which are to be drafted under State planning.
Long-term planning is being prepared by various regions and departments in China. The prospect envisaged is the creation of a clean and wholesome environment suitable for people to live and work in, and favourable to the exploitation, utilization and renewability of natural resources along with the implementation of a modernization programme.
By the inclusion of environmental protection in our national economic planning, we mean mainly the setting of targets and major norms for environmental protection in the long-term planning of the national economy. Under the requirements of this policy, the various regions and departments map out their concrete targets and norms as part of their long-term planning. The regions and departments and all industrial and mining enterprises make arrangements in the fiscal year for production, capital construction and technical measures. After balancing the long-term plans and fiscal budgets, they receive guarantees for financial support, materials and labour from higher levels. During the preparation and execution of yearly plans and long-term planning, the environmental protection departments at various levels actively participate and supervise.
Supervision and inspection of the enterprises are required and the elimination of pollution and protection of the environment are criteria for gauging an enterprise's performance in fulfilling its production duties. It is also an important standard for judging the managerial level and for evaluating a worker's level of skill in an enterprise, workshop, group, or team. Enterprises with severe pollution problems will not be commended as advanced enterprises. This measure is closely linked with the material benefits of the workers, and serves to en courage the enterprises, initiative in pollution control and environmental protection. It becomes an effective economic incentive to get enterprises to carry out environmental protection planning.
The process of social production is one of the material exchanges between man's society and his surroundings. If such a process is in conformity with nature's ecological law and economic law, it will accelerate production and achieve economic benefits in many aspects. This is a benign circle. On the contrary, if the process of material exchanges violates nature's ecological law and economic law, pollution will not only damage the environment, harming current production, but will also affect the continuous development of the economy - and this is a vicious circle. Thus, fundamentally, one of the important tasks of environmental protection is to guide the process of material exchange toward a benign circle, avoiding a vicious circle. The best way to achieve it is to carry out multi-purpose utilization of resources. As a result of irrational exploitation and use of natural resources, they are wasted, causing severe damage to the environment.
Take the example of energy consumption. The amount of energy consumed in China is almost the same as in Japan, but China's total value of industrial and agricultural production is only one fifth that of Japan. The advanced rate of heat-energy utilization abroad has reached 50 percent, yet it is below 30 percent in China. If the utilization rate of coal energy is raised by 10 percent, this will mean an annual increase of 200 million tons of coal put out annually, and the discharge of pollutants to the environment will be reduced by thousands of tons.
As for natural resources, according to incomplete statistics by chemical industrial departments, only one third of the large quantities of chemical industrial material has been discharged into the environment as industrial waste. The recovery rate of the high-density sulphur dioxide from the chimney-smoke of China's key ferrous metallurgical enterprises is less than one half, and the amount of sulphur dioxide discharged into the environment annually reaches half a million tons in terms of sulphuric acid. Because of the low level of multi-purpose utilization, a lot of valuable energy and material resources which should be recovered and recycled become pollutants, causing serious detriment to the environment and in turn affecting economic development. To speed up the change away from the current state of wasting resources, we have selected the multi-purpose utilization of resources as important economic policy, and we promote its execution with awards. China's environmental protection law stipulates that factories using waste gas, waste liquid and waste residue as the main material qualify for tax reductions or exemption, or for special considerations in price policies. They may keep profits instead of turning them over to the State. Profits can be used to manage pollution and improve the environ meet. In line with this, leading groups responsible for environmental protection under the State Council and the Ministry of Finance have jointly worked out regulations concerning the keeping by industrial and mining enterprises of the percentage of profits for controlling pollution, preventing wastes and engaging in multi-purpose utilization.
These policies of encouraging multi purpose utilization were introduced step by step several years ago. According to Beijing's incomplete statistics, the various kinds of material recovered and recycled between 1972 and 1977 had a value of 300 million yuan, of which recovered chemical products reached 80 million yuan and that of waste slag which was turned into building material was worth 180 million yuan.
RICE SEEDLINGS GROWN BY AQUACULTURE importance of water plays a larger role in China's environmental consciousness
In accordance with relevant stipulations of the law of environmental protection, since September 1979, 12 provinces and municipalities including Shanxi, Shandong. Hebei and Liaoning have announced fines for discharge of pollutants. Part of Jiangsu, Anhui and Shanxi provinces have applied fines on a trial basis. To date, the regulations are enforced in 1574 enterprises and governmental undertakings in 55 cities, 11 prefectures and 15 counties with good results. Here are some details.
· Fines for violating the standard set by the State for the discharge of pollutants are, in principle, a little higher than the costs of pollution control. This makes it clear to enterprises that it is better to use the money for good environment management than to pay fines. It is also an incentive to start the management early rather than later and to create conditions for keeping technological processes up to date and eliminate the "three wastes" in the course of production.
· Factories are encouraged to reduce spills and leakages, decrease consumption of raw material and energy and thus increase the income of the enterprise.
In the past, administrative measures were taken and regulations were passed but they did not get enough attention from the departments concerned. Some regulations were simply ignored. The practice of applying fines for discharging pollutants has put an end to this passivity and contributed to the improvement of technical aspects and monitoring capacity.
· The new practice has acquainted the cadres and masses with the environmental protection law, making them realize that they would be economically responsible for polluting the environment, and should not treat the problem lightly. Moreover, the fines will supply part of the funds needed for accelerating environmental management.
· Fines are mainly directed against those who cause severe pollution and great losses in economy and health. For serious cases, in addition to the fine, an "economic court" will be held to investigate the legal responsibilities of the offender.
Environmental monitoring is considered basic not only for protection but also for acquiring the kind of information needed for meaningful research. Assessment of environmental quality is based on the study of past and present conditions and projected to prediction of what the future will bring.
Science and technology are a powerful motive force propelling history forward. Research provides the theoretical guidance and practical techniques for environmental management and the control of pollution. Environmental science is a highly comprehensive interdisciplinary science which has become an important component of sciences as a whole in recent years. Its development is enlightened and stimulated by other branches of science and it, in turn, gives impetus to their advancement. Expanding research in environmental science is the key to controlling and solving the problems of pollution and other damages now confronting China. It is also the key to raising environmental protection to the level of meeting the needs of China's four modernizations.
In view of the fact that environmental science covers many disciplines, and that China's research in this field is just beginning and has a weak foundation, it is necessary to mobilize the efforts of research personnel from all quarters and bring their initiative into full play. The personnel now engaged in scientific research on environmental protection in China come from seven areas:
1. Institutions under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. With a sound foundation, they are mainly engaged in research into such basic theories and applied sciences as environmental chemistry, biology and ecology, environmental geography, acoustics, atmospheric environment, marine environment and desert control.
2. Institutions under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. These researchers are mainly concerned with management, economics and laws pertaining to the environment.
3. Research institutes of the Departments of Industries, Communications and Transportation, Agriculture and Forestry, National Defence, Public Health, Commerce and other departments under the State Council. They work mainly on research into the multiple utilization of natural and energy resources and the combination of prevention and treatment of environmental pollution and damage.
4. Universities and colleges. They are a strong force engaged mainly in research into the integration of a basic theory of pollution control.
5. Research institutions in the various provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. They are a research force working mainly on pollution control.
6. Research personnel in various industrial and mining enterprises. Their assignment is to study the control of environmental pollution.
7. Research personnel in the environmental protection departments. They mainly study environmental management.
Organized and coordinated by the State environmental protection organ, each of these research forces has its own area of interests, but they all cooperate with one another.
In 1979, China set up the Chinese Society of Environmental Science, under which are the academic committee, the working committee of education and popularization of environmental science and the editorial board. The academic committee is divided into 14 groups including the special group on water pollution control and protection of water sources, the special group on atmospheric pollution control and pollution meteorology, the special group on solid waste pollution control, the special group on environmental acoustics and noise control, the special group on environmental medical science, the special group on environmental biology, the special group on environmental chemistry, the special group on environmental geochemistry and chemical-geographical pollution, the special group on marine environment, the special group on environmental analysis ant monitoring, the special group on assessment of environmental quality, the society for research on environmental standards, the society for theoretical research on environment and the society for research on environmental economics and environmental laws. The work of the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences has helped to advance China's research on environ mental science, enliven academic discussions and popularize knowledge about environmental science.
CROP LANDS PROTECTED BY TREES IN THE UIGHUR AUTONOMOUS REGION a shelterbelt mentality
China sets its long-range goal in the research of environmental sciences on "pollution prevention," and lays stress on the study of basic theory. In the short run, it works mainly on "pollution control" and emphasizes the study of practical techniques. For the past few years, it has had some success in implementing the principle of combining its long-term and short-term goals, and has achieved results in nearly a thousand items of scientific research. The main items are: the recovery and utilization of highly concentrated sulphur dioxide, electroplating without the use of cyanide and the treatment of waste water from electroplating, ammonia-base sulphite pulping of small straw-pulp paper mills, dehairing of hides with enzymes, the treatment of mercury pollution, the purification of polluted water from oil refining and the injection of polluted water into oil fields, the control of airflow noise, the treatment of organic waste water through biological oxidation ponds, the control of surface subsidence, the composting of city garbage, biological control of diseases and insect pests in farming and forestry, the control of snail fever, biological nitrogen fixation, desert control and the new energy from bio-gas.
However, generally speaking, China's scientific and technical research on environmental protection is still at its initial stage. It lags far behind the actual needs and behind the advanced world standards. Therefore, we are now drawing up our long-range scientific research plan for environmental protection and making preparations for the establishment of the China Environmental Science Research Institute. We are also gradually setting up and improving our system of scientific research on environmental protection, replenishing our technical forces, allocating more funds, and concentrating our study on the following subjects: the rational exploitation and utilization of natural resources, technologies that can eliminate or reduce environmental pollution, comprehensive pollution control in major cities, seas, rivers and lakes, the relationship between environmental pollution and people's health, environmental economics and the analysis of cost and benefit of environmental protection measures, policies toward environmental economics and techniques, the protection of nature, environmental monitoring, environmental standards and assessment of environmental quality. Our goal is to reach an advanced world level in these matters by the turn of the century.
Environmental monitoring is the basis on which to carry out environmental protection and conduct environmental scientific research. It is the eyes and ears and the sentry of environmental management. Environmental monitoring is a process of determining the various indications and data representing environmental quality. A large amount of data accumulated over a long time through monitoring can help study the laws governing the sources, transport, distribution and change of pollutants, and to calculate and forecast pollution trends. Based on these data, we can also do research through simulation, correctly appraise the environmental quality, and identify the pollutants that ought to be controlled.
We have set up or are preparing to set up, more than 290 environmental monitoring stations. We have succeeded in designing and making automatic atmospheric pollution-monitoring vehicles, and water quality pollution-monitoring boats. Through its regular monitoring, urgent monitoring and scientific research, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Station has obtained 210000 items of data, improved the methods for analysing 25 kinds of pollutants and worked out standards. It has also made gratifying achievements in setting up its standards analytical method. The standardization of environmental pollution analysis is the basic work for environmental protection. Only by doing a thorough job of it we can have a unified yardstick of comparison and evaluation for environmental management, scientific research, monitoring, assessment and control. In the past, because the analytical methods were not unified, different organizations always produced far different results in analysing the same sample. Subsequently, the data thus obtained could not be used. Through a year of efforts, the Environmental Chemistry Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Nanjing Soil Research Institute and some other units have succeeded in working out 90 methods of defining and analysing pollutants of common occurrence, including copper, aluminium, zinc, cadmium, mercury, chromium, arsenic, selenium, cyanogen, fluorine, sulphur, phenol, benzene, acetaldehyde trichloride, petroleum, BHC and DDT. Their successes are highly praised in the country. Later, through their concerted efforts, the Environmental Chemistry Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and dozens of other organizations have devised more than 110 monitoring methods covering more than 30 items of research They include the comprehensive norms for heavy metals, anion, valence and state, organic matter and water quality. Proceeding from China's realities for environmental protection and taking into account its existing analytical and monitoring conditions and technical level, these two groups of methods of analysis focus on those pollutants which are large in quantity and spread over large areas. At the same time, they absorb advanced analytical and monitoring methods of an international standard and have improved some of them. So these methods are generally sensitive, accurate, reliable and simple, achieve fast results and possess other good points. They are practical and can easily be popularized. Modern techniques of remote sensing and telemetering, laser techniques and neutron activation techniques have begun to be applied in some fields of monitoring. Biological monitoring is also being applied widely.
BEIJING RESIDENTS ENGAGED TN TREE PLANTING protecting the environment is seen as protecting the health of the people
However, China's environmental monitoring work still lags behind, is in a state of discontinuous sampling and relies heavily upon manual labour. Most of the existing monitoring posts are in a stage of preparation, with incomplete sets of equipment and few qualified personnel, and thus cannot meet the demands of normal operations. This is particularly so because the implementation of the environmental protection law and fines for discharging pollutants have set a high and pressing demand for monitoring work. Accordingly, we are stepping up efforts in monitoring and getting ready to set up China's General Environmental Monitoring Station. At the same time, we expect to provide complete sets of equipment to more than 60 major monitoring stations in the provinces and key cities within three years, to enable them to function normally and unify their methods. This will lay a foundation for the formation of a nationwide environmental monitoring network.
Assessment of environmental quality is an important subject of study. It is divided into three categories - assessment of the past, of the present, and of the future by prediction assessment.
Assessment of the past consists in accumulating historical data, furnishing examples for contrast and judging trends. Assessment of the present is a timely assessment of current conditions and is a direct basis for implementing environmental protection legislation. Prediction assessment consists in thorough investigations and studies of existing environmental conditions before the construction of major projects, such as large water conservation works, large iron and steel complexes, petro-chemical plants, nonferrous metallurgical plants, large thermal power plants, atomic energy power stations, airports and harbours. It is also the assessment of the environmental impact of the projects by experiments, simulation, analysis and judgement to determine the feasibility of the projects and to draw up several plans and select the best. The prediction assessment of environmental quality is an important measure to protect and improve the environment. It represents enormous progress in environmental protection, a progress from the fight against effects to the fight against causes. The implementation of such a system helps to put an end to a passive condition of environmental protection work, gets rid of the old practice of doing things according to the whims of senior officials, and promotes the development of the environmental sciences and techniques. It acts as an effective guarantee for carrying out the principle of combining prevention with treatment and lays emphasis on the former.
Over the past few years, China has made steady headway in the work of environmental quality assessment. We have accomplished the following tasks comprehensive assessment of the environmental quality in the western outskirts of Beijing, investigation and assessment of environmental pollution in the southeastern outskirts of Beijing and research into ways to control it, investigation of environmental pollution, assessment of the environmental quality and regional planning in the cities of Changchun and Nanjing, assessment of the atmospheric quality in Shenyang, investigation, monitoring and assessment of the condition of the environmental quality at the Jinshan petro-chemical district of Shanghai, and the prediction assessment of the environmental quality at the Baoshan steel complex of Shanghai.
Although the work of assessing environmental quality has just begun in China, we have carried out a comprehensive assessment of manifold factors over a large area and have had fairly good success. This is because we have organized all relevant departments and institutions into a joint force for scientific research through rational division of assignments and close cooperation.
However, China has not yet formed a specialist force, nor set up a system and made use of complete sets of technical means for its work of environmental quality assessment, and particularly of prediction assessment of the environment. We will strengthen this work in the future.
At the top, under the State Council, is the Leading Group for Environment Protection, headed by a vice-premier. Its members represent more than 20 principal departments including construction planning, science, industry, agriculture, forestry, communications, health, education, oceanography, and public security.
The leading organ of environmental management at the State level is the Leading Group of Environmental Protection under the State Council. The Group is headed by a vice-premier and composed of leading members from more than 20 departments. It includes planning, construction, science, agriculture and forestry, industry, communications, health, education, oceanological research, and public security. The executive organ of the Group is the Office of the Leading Group of Environmental Protection under the State Council, which has a director and a number of deputy directors.
Under the Office are divisions of planning, science and technology, investigation and research, water resources, atmosphere, natural conservation, education, international liaison, a secretariat and others. A research institute and a general monitoring station are being established. Environmental protection departments or bureaux or equivalent organs have been set up in the ministries of chemical industries, metallurgy, petroleum, light industry, textile industries, power, transportation and communications, railways, machine building, agriculture, forestry, public health and education and scientific research and a research institute of oceanology under the State Council.
Environmental protection bureaux have been set up in 22 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directed under the central administration. Environmental protection offices have been set up in the rest of the provinces. Most of the prefectures, cities and counties have their environmental protection institutions. Large and medium-sized industrial and mining enterprises also have such offices or personnel in charge of environmental protection. Offices for environmental protection of water resources have been set up in the drainage areas of the Changjiang, Huanghe and Songhua rivers and the Bohai Bay and the Guanting reservoir. The environmental protection organizations at various levels are responsible for what happens in their respective areas, under the direct leadership of the people's government or administrative departments at the same level. For professional matters they are under the guidance of the environmental protection organizations at a higher level. Scientific research institutes and monitoring stations have been set up in some important departments, provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, prefectures and cities, and they are under the leadership of the environmental protection management organization at the same level.
SPRING PLOUGHING IN ZHEJIANG PROVINCE an awareness of the integration of trees and farming
According to China's environmental protection law, the functions of the Group under the State Council are:
1. To enforce and supervise the enforcement of the principles, policies, laws and decrees of the State concerning environmental protection.
2. To make proposals for rules and regulations, standards and economic and technical policies regarding environmental protection, in coordination with the departments concerned.
3. To work out long-range and annual plans for environmental protection in coordination with the departments concerned, and promote and examine their implementation.
4. To organize nationwide environmental monitoring, to investigate and gather information about nationwide environmental conditions and trends, and to make proposals for improvements.
5. In coordination with the departments concerned, to organize and coordinate scientific research and education on the environment and to spread information about international and national advanced experiences and techniques for environmental protection.
6. To give guidance to departments under the State Council and the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities under direct central administration in the work of environmental protection.
7. To organize and coordinate cooperation and exchange in environmental protection with foreign countries.
The environmental protection law establishes the main functions of local organizations of environmental protection at various levels. It points out that environmental protection organizations should also be set up according to the needs of departments under the State Council and local people's governments at various levels, large and medium-sized enterprises and public undertakings. They should be responsible for environmental protection in their respective units.
In China's environmental management, the central organization is mainly in charge of working out principles, policies, decrees and standards for environmental quality and putting forward proposals for planning requirements, leaving the concrete tasks of inspection and supervision to the local environmental management organizations at various levels. But neither the central organization nor the local ones have clearly defined functions and responsibilities. None of them have perfect working regulations. In a word, the work of environmental management still lacks coordination. We are now striving to change this state of affairs in line with the law of environmental management.
China now has over 80 research institutes of environmental protection, large and small, staffed by 3500 people. There are more than 290 monitoring stations with over 4400 people. If various environmental protection offices are counted in, the total number of people involved in these operations will come to some 15000. Most of them have been transferred from other departments and few of them have been especially trained in environmental protection. This, obviously, is not in keeping with the arduous task of environmental protection in such a big country with a population of almost one thousand million.
In recent years, 23 universities and colleges have set up environmental protection departments, specialities or courses. Research institutes of environmental sciences have been established at the Shanghai Medical College, the Beijing Medical College, the Shanghai Teachers' College, Nanjing University, Zhoushan University, the Beijing Industrial University and the Jilin Teachers' College. In addition, another 20 universities and colleges have set up small laboratories to carry out scientific research in environmental protection.
There are 15000 persons working at China's environment research institutes and 290 monitoring stations. Environment studies are on the curricula of 23 schools of higher education. Government officials are being trained through short courses.
Modernization of science and technology is the key link in China's socialist modernization programme, and education is the foundation. Environmental education is not only aimed at training many experts and technicians, but must take in the masses for a universal education. This is because environmental protection is closely related to the work, life and health of everybody since everybody lives in a certain environment, affects the environment and is affected by it. The purpose of environmental education is to make every member of society understand the unity of opposites between man and environment and the importance of environmental protection so as to have a correct attitude toward environment.
Staff training is a strategic task for environmental protection. To meet the needs of the four modernizations in China, a complete system for environmental education and a nationwide educational network, from children to adults, from schools to society, and from popularization to specialization, must be set up with overall consideration and all-round planning. For this purpose, we have worked out a programme in which goals, demands and measures have been put forward for environmental education in colleges and ordinary schools and to cadres at their posts and the broad masses. To meet the urgent need for rapid development of environmental management, we have run two short-term training courses for officials. Meanwhile, efforts are being made for the establishment of schools for training administrative personnel in environmental protection so that all the administrative officials, staff of research institutes and workers at all monitoring stations will have a chance to attend a training course at least once in the coming three to five years. At the same time, we plan to train some experts in environmental protection in two universities.
For its universality, comprehensiveness and its all-importance, environmental protection involves all professions and social strata. It cannot be done well unless the whole society is fully aware of and really protects the environment.
To deepen the masses' understanding of the importance of environmental protection, and especially of the leading officials at all levels, in March and April 1980 we launched "Propaganda month for environmental protection," in connection with the popularization and implementation of the Law of Environmental Protection. During the propaganda month, there was extensive publicity about the relations between environmental protection and socialist modernization, between environmental protection and people's health, between production and life and ecology and between population growth and environmental pollution and damages. The publicity also covered scientific information about environmental management and prevention of pollution. All provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, the ministries under the State Council and the leading group for environmental protection in the people's liberation army attached great importance to this propaganda. Most of these departments issued notices in the name of the people's government or the departments concerned, laid down standards and gave specific orders. Mobilization meetings presided over by leading government officials were held in most provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions as well as in large and medium-sized cities. The people's government of Heilongjiang province called a meeting attended by 100000 people. The Party Secretary of the provincial committee of the Chinese Communist Party urged all the prefectures, departments and industrial enterprises to implement the policies related to environmental protection. Leading government officials and the standing committees of the people's congress of many provinces and municipalities investigated the present situation of environmental pollution and the work on environmental protection, canvassed opinions among the people and ordered some factories to bring their environmental pollution under control.
Environmental awareness is being encouraged at all levels of society. Journalists, teachers' scientists and all who influence public opinion are urged to make China conscious of a healthy environment. The courts give the message as they hear pollution cases.
The mass media, cultural and educational institutions, trade unions, scientific associations, the youth league, the women's federation and other mass organizations conducted propaganda by means of the press, broadcasting, films, television and photo exhibitions. More than 690 articles on environmental protection were carried in national and provincial newspapers. In addition, lectures were organized on environmental science and large numbers of booklets publicizing the environmental protection law and other environmental information were printed and distributed.
These propaganda activities deepened the understanding of the population about the harmfulness of pollution and heightened their awareness of the need to protect the environment. Some leading government officials have begun to realize that attention should be given to production as well as to environmental protection and ecological balance, and that present interests should be integrated with long-term interests. Throughout the country the population was enthusiastic about this movement. More and more people are now putting forward proposals on environmental control. The numbers of supervisory groups for environmental protection have been growing very fast in neighbourhood committees in Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Jinan and some cities in Jaingsu province and they are doing quite effective work. People's procurates and people's courts in many localities have begun to hear cases of pollution while actively telling people about the importance of environmental protection.
The propaganda month has also brought into play the initiative of many professors, engineers, and environmental scientists and technicians. They have written articles, put forward proposals, given lectures and made new progress in their scientific research. This propaganda campaign has fired the enthusiasm of many administrative officials, dispelled their fear of difficulties and strengthened their confidence in their work.
For its part, the Environmental Protection Office under the State Council ran three training courses on environmental protection, in cooperation with the Chinese Society of Environmental Science; 287 leading officials attended the courses and gained rudimentary knowledge in environmental control. Training courses on environmental management and monitoring were also held by environmental management institutions in various parts of the country.
We are thinking of perpetuating these activities which have proved so effective during the propaganda month.