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NPC deputies prompt bay beautification

By Hou Liqiang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-27

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment has vowed to intensify measures this year to promote the construction of beautiful bays to meet the increasing demand for an attractive environment, following suggestions from national legislators.

Tailored measures will be rolled out this year in more than 100 of China's 283 bays, with pollution control and ecosystem remediation as priorities, the ministry announced on Sunday.

By 2027, it aims to see construction completed in 40 percent of the country's bays, which should feature clean seawater and beaches, rich varieties and large numbers of fish and birds, as well as harmonious coexistence between humankind and the sea.

The environmental governance of bay areas is a topic close to the hearts of some deputies to the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature. Zhang Yuzhen, an NPC deputy from Fujian province, and two other deputies submitted suggestions on building beautiful bays to the first session of the 14th NPC last year.

In her suggestion, Zhang, head of the Fujian Academy of Environmental Science, called on the central government to set up special funds for building beautiful bays, saying such funds could help guide local governments to carry out comprehensive environmental treatment in key sea areas and promote the construction of beautiful bays.

More support should be provided to local governments to help them enlarge teams and enhance capabilities for marine environment supervision, the suggestion said.

It also pointed out a way to help minimize government inputs for environmental management in bay areas to promote environmental treatment projects, which are good for the public but have poor economic returns, and lucrative industrial developments in an integrated manner.

According to information provided by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment at a recent news conference organized by the NPC Standing Committee's commission for deputy-related affairs, the ministry has promoted the construction of beautiful bays based on suggestions received from national legislators.

"The ministry has attached great importance to the suggestions. Following a thorough study, the ministry has adopted some ideas in the suggestions," China Environment News, which is affiliated with the ministry, reported.

The ministry said it has made efforts to enhance financial support to the beautiful bay initiative from diverse channels.

Programs related to beautiful bay construction have, for example, been included in the national reserve of projects that can enjoy preferential financing policies. It has also offered guidance to local governments to help them apply for national and regional funds for marine ecosystem remediation.

The ministry has striven to encourage the participation of enterprises, social organizations and the public in building beautiful bays, it said, citing Blue Circle (China), a marine plastic waste program in Zhejiang province that won the 2023 Champions of the Earth award, the United Nations' highest environmental honor, to illustrate the fruits of that effort.

Promoted by Zhejiang's department of ecology and environment and VisionBlue Technology, a private company, the program works with an app to motivate the public to collect marine plastic waste.

Through the app, people can sell marine plastic they collect at a price higher than the market price. The raw materials made of the waste plastic are authenticated, and then also sold at higher prices.

Local governments have already formulated plans to build more than 100 beautiful bays, the ministry said.

It said monitoring last year showed water quality had improved in 102 bays, compared with 2022.

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