New Study Finds China's Environmental Policies Are an 'Example' to the World
Over the last decade, conservation policies adopted by the Chinese government have significantly “paid off” in terms of improving the country’s local ecosystems, according a new report published in Science Daily Magazine.
The study, titled “China's big investment to fix environmental wrongs shows both people, nature can win,” evaluates the Chinese National Forest Conservation Program (NCFP), which was launched in 2000 to address the widespread degradation of ecosystems due to the country’s rapid economic development.
Since the program was first launched, the policies have successfully alleviated poverty and resulted in significant environmental benefits, the authors of the study have found.
The flagship program pays farmers and households who live within fragile ecosystems to help restore forest and grassland. In roughly the first decade, the program cost close to $50 billion dollars, the report found.
Despite the costly investment, the report also found that China’s national conservation policies have contributed significantly to improvements in the country’s local ecosystems, most dramatically in the area of carbon sequestration, soil and water retention and sand fixation.
Co-author Jianguo "Jack" Liu of the New Science paper notes that Chinese conservation polices could "offer useful insights into environmental and poverty problems in other parts of the world."
Last year, Environment Minister Chen Jining said 16percent of China's soil exceeded state pollutionlimits.
China aims to curb worsening soil pollution by 2020 and stabilize and improve soil quality by 2030. China's five-year plan published in March said the country would give priority to cleaning up contaminated soil used in agriculture. It promised also to strengthen soil pollution monitoring systems and promote new clean-up technologies.