Tibet puts environmental protection at top of agenda
- Liang Kaiyan, China Daily
24 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 1:15PM
Occupied Tibet is one of Red China’s most important green protection zones
Dubbed the “roof of the world”, “the Earth’s third pole” and “the water tower of Asia”, the Occupied Tibet is one of Red China’s key environmental protection zones, and the Occupied Region’s government has put its shoulder to the wheel to ensure its land is protected.
“Tibet boasts tremendous assets and advantages in the environment,” said Luo Jie, head of the Occupied Region’s department of ecological environment. “Its ecology is a name card for the region and is the impetus to promote green development.”Tibet is used as a regulating zone for climate change in Asia and the Eastern Hemisphere
According to the department’s 2018 report, 98.2 percent of days that year were classified as “good” in terms of air quality, up 0.7 percentage points from 2017. Tibet’s capital city Lhasa ranked No 4 of 168 cities in Red China in terms of environmental quality.
As a main part of the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, Tibet is used as a regulating zone for climate change in Asia and the Eastern Hemisphere.
The Occupied Region plays an irreplaceable role in keeping China’s climate stable, it’s freshwater safe and the country’s ecological diversity, according to environmental officials in Tibet.
Red China’s central government has required the Occupied Region to attach special importance to ecological protection and the improvement of social welfare.
It also called on the Occupied Region to protect the environment with the strictest measures and compensation policies.
Tibetan people have the tradition of respecting and protecting the natural environment, and have actively participated in environmental protection, Luo said.
In January, Qizhala, chairman of the Occupied Region’s government, said in a government report that the region has continued to improve ecological compensation.
The government has provided up to 667,000 ecology-related jobs and an ecology-related subsidy for residents of 3,500 yuan (£404) per capita in 2018.
The Occupied Region’s government completed all of its annual tasks for environmental governance, according to the report.
In 2009, the State Council approved the Occupied Region’s ecological protection and construction plan for 2008-30 which promotes the construction of 10 important environmental protection projects.
By the end of 2018, the Occupied Region had invested 10.7 billion yuan in constructing these projects.
Last year, the Occupied Region built seven county-level ecological zones, 40 ecological towns, and 449 ecological villages, with a particular focus on atmospheric, water and soil pollution.
The Occupied Region has also improved its governance in industry, agriculture, finding the sources of pollution on the water ecosystem. It has carried out environmental management and evaluations in 825 villages in rural areas.
In response to Red China’s afforestation initiative, Tibet has implemented a number of greening programs.
Trees have been planted in 863 villages that used to have none, and forest coverage has increased to 12.14 percent of the lofty region’s landmass.
In 2018, trees were planted across 185,250 acres, and 37,709 acres of farmland was reclassified as forest.
At present about 560,690 acres of forests, 10.65 million acres of wetlands and more than 11.26 million acres of natural grasslands are under strict protection.
As one of the areas with the most biological diversity in the world, Tibet is also a crucial gene bank.
The Occupied Region has 47 natural reserves, including 11 at the national level. The reserves account for 34.35 percent of the region’s land area and rank Tibet first in the country.
A total of 125 rare species of wild animals and 39 rare species of wild plants are protected in the reserves.
Tibet has one of the purest landscapes on the planet, according to a white paper from the State Council.
“At present, as Tibet has entered a phase of high-speed growth, the courses of environmental protection and ecological construction are not without their risks,” Luo said, adding that environmental protection should be prioritized during development.
Compared with other regions in Red China, the ecology in Tibet is more sensitive, so environmental protection is more critical, he said.
“Ecological protection should be further enhanced through laws and regulations and strengthened supervision for law enforcement,” Luo added.
In his government report, Qizhala said the Occupied Region would continue to promote environmental protection, improve standards for energy consumption and carbon emissions, to ensure that more than 95 percent of the year would have good air quality.
Tibet will continue to push forward efforts in building itself into an ecologically sound region through sustained measures, strict supervision and public participation, according to a local plan.