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Ecological safety urged for sustainable development

Legislation, innovation and cooperation are needed to ensure environmental protection and sustainable development in the current environmental crisis, according to analysts.

Climate change, deforestation, maritime pollution, desertification, extreme weather, and human economic activities pose serious threats to human survival, aggravate regional poverty and can result in social instability, said Jiang Mingjun, president of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization.

It is necessary to push forward environmental protection legislation to crack down on illegal pollution and integrate “ecological safety” into the long-term development strategy of the country, said Jiang at a recent international forum on ecological safety in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province.

He suggested a special committee be set up to lead ecological safety efforts and that the public be more active in participating in eco-friendly activities, such as choosing public transit over cars.

As air and water pollution have become top concerns for the public, increased attention has been given to environmental protection worldwide.

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said last month that it will finish designating the country’s ecologically sensitive and vulnerable areas and protected zones before the end of next year in order to promote the sustainable development of the economy and society.

China has strengthened its efforts in protecting bio-diversity and treating pollution in recent years, according to Li Ganjie, vice minister of environmental protection.

To achieve an advanced eco-friendly economy, low-carbon and recycling industries should occupy a large share of total economic activities, said the official.

Recycling industries should be adopted to transform traditional industries, said Wu Jisong, director of the China Recycling Economy Research Center. The green economy should be supported by knowledge and technology, he added.

Enterprises should play a major role in innovation and fulfill their social responsibilities in building an ecologically sound economy, said Zhang Baoxin, a senior official with the Office of the Three Gorges Project Construction Committee of China’s State Council.

Some companies seek profits while damaging the local environment. Lessons should be drawn from the past model of growth, in which the economy grew at the expense of environmental protection, and strict legal mechanisms should be established to force enterprises to carry out their social responsibilities, according to Zhang.

Trans-regional pollution, such as pollution that travels from the upper reaches of a river to affect residents downstream, has become common in many areas in the wake of economic development.

An eco-compensation mechanism should be promoted to handle the trans-regional pollution problem, said analysts.

Eco-compensation systems should be improved through regulations, laws, the role of the market and participation of the public, said Zhang Huiyua, a researcher with Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.

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