People at center of efforts to go green
May 24,2022   By:CHINA DAILY

An aerial photo shows Baiyangdian Lake in Baoding city, North China's Hebei province, in August, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]
May 24, 2022 -- With a well-established legal system to safeguard environmental rights, Chinese people enjoy various channels to learn about, participate in and supervise environmental protection work.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, also known as the Stockholm Conference, in which the Action Plan for the Human Environment was adopted.
This conference is of landmark significance for the world's environmental progress, as well as progress in China.
"Enlightened by the Stockholm Conference, under the leadership of former premier Zhou Enlai, China held its first national environmental protection conference in 1973, which marked the beginning of its environmental progress," said Qu Geping, the first administrator of the now-defunct environmental protection agency, in his written address to a recent UN event in the lead-up to an event to commemorate the 1972 conference.
Qu, 92, was a member of the Chinese delegation to the UN conference half a century ago.
Despite grim environmental challenges brought by high-speed industrialization and urbanization after reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, China has made solid steps in its endeavor to establish and improve the legal and supervisory systems on environmental protection, he noted.
These systems have laid a good foundation for the country to further forge ahead with sustainable development and the construction of an ecological civilization, he said.
Ecological civilization is a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping for balanced and sustainable development that features harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.
Also addressing the recent UN event, Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu noted the country's significant progress in improving the institutional system for ecological civilization.
Inscribed into the country's Constitution in 2018, ecological civilization has been integrated into all aspects, including the nation's socioeconomic development plans, he said.
Aside from the introduction of dozens of reform plans concerning ecological civilization, he said, the country has enacted more than 30 laws and administrative regulations for environmental protection.
Bie Tao, the ministry's director-general of law, regulation and standards, said at a news conference last year that the country's current environmental protection work features effective public participation.
The State Council publicizes environmental information from its different bodies every year, which altogether make up the annual China Ecology and Environment Situation Bulletin, he said.
China's high-profile environmental protection inspections-teams of which are usually headed by ministerial-level officials-not only expose violations and urge rectification, but also give the public a way to participate in environmental protection work, he said.
The country is currently rolling out its second round of inspections. Each time inspection teams arrive in a region, the first thing they do to publish their contact information to accept public reports.
For example, during their monthlong inspections from late March to April 25, inspectors received 16,041 reports from the public, according to the ministry, where the inspection office is based.
"Today, we can proudly declare that, after endeavoring for about 50 years since the 1972 Stockholm Conference, China doesn't lag behind other countries in terms of the legal protections it provides for the environment," Bie said.
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