President Xi Jinping says that China's progress in tackling pollution and climate change has been far from the goal. The country's state of the environment was the topic of the two-day ecological summit that ended on May 19.
Xi urged the Chinese citizens and key stakeholders to strengthen the fight against garbage pollution and irrational consumption to protect the environment.
"We must speed up the construction of a system of ecological civilization and ensure that the ecology and environment is fundamentally improved by the year 2035 and that our goal of building a beautiful China is basically achieved," Xi said.
In 1978, the People's Republic of China began launching a series of programs to mitigate the effects of industrial pollution. Xi, who is also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said the country is putting more efforts to achieve ecological civilization together with the reforms made in the last 40 years.
China's Road To Environmental Protection
China has been receptive to the public's demand for a more sustainable environment. Xi highlighted the policy changes that have been made since the 18th CPC National Congress, including central environmental inspections and guidelines to promote cleanliness of air, water, and soil.
China also participated in the United Nation's High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in September 2017 where it outlined its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"We envisage a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all," the program vision stated.
In compliance with the 2030 agenda, Xi said China must pursue innovative and coordinated developments that allow for the environment's natural recovery. He ensured that the nation will achieve the goal of building a Beautiful China by 2035 through the concerted efforts on global environmental governance.
Xi said the emphasis would be on adjusting China's economic and energy structure, optimization of the territorial development space, improvement of industrial projects in river valleys, and fostering low-carbon lifestyle.
Garbage Pit No More
In line with its clean environment goal, China has refused to become a wasteland for some of the world's major garbage exporters. Since January, Beijing has banned 24 types of scraps to enter its borders.
Prior to the ban, China is importing approximately 9 million metric tons of plastic scraps a year, according to nonprofit group Greenpeace.
Waste importation began in the 1980s to sustain the country's growing manufacturing industry. However, the lack of effective waste management has caused a major problem.
Researchers at the University of Chicago reported that China still has a long way to go to curb the effects of pollution. The World Health Organization reported that China's air pollution levels have exceeded the acceptable levels.