BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Through a decade of commitment, China has forged ahead in ecological and environmental conservation by transforming firm actions into fruitful achievements.
During a Thursday press conference summarizing the country's ecological progress, Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu said that the past 10 years witnessed the country's toughest measures and most extraordinary progress regarding ecology and the environment, with great strides made in the construction of a "beautiful China."
CLEANER AIR, CLEARER WATER
Thanks to China's persistent efforts to combat all types of pollution, crystal-clear waters and azure skies are becoming more commonplace all across the country.
Air quality has improved notably, with the average concentration of PM2.5 hazardous airborne particles decreasing from 46 micrograms per cubic meter in 2015 to 30 micrograms per cubic meter last year, Huang said.
Days with good air quality accounted for 87.5 percent of 2021, up 6.3 percentage points from 2015 and making China the nation with the greatest air-quality improvement worldwide, according to the minister.
Over the past decade, the proportion of water at or above Grade III in the country's five-tier water quality system increased 23.3 percentage points to 84.9 percent, nearing the levels of developed countries.
Black and odorous water bodies have been generally eliminated in urban areas, and the safety of drinking water is under effective protection, Huang added.
Behind these stellar figures was a hard-fought battle, during which the country tailored regional and industry-specific solutions to pollution.
Devoted to a green shift in energy consumption, China transformed over 27 million rural households in its northern regions from coal energy to clean heating in the past 10 years. This transformation helped save more than 60 million tonnes of bulk coal.
Green efforts have also gone into energy generation to mitigate pollution from fossil fuels. China has the world's largest clean coal-fired power generating system, and the country has transformed coal-fired generators with a total installed capacity of 1.03 billion kilowatts to a low-emissions mode, Huang said.
In the development of green transport, the country has phased out over 30 million obsolete and heavy-emissions vehicles over the past decade, and has evolved into the world's biggest new-energy vehicle market.
China has reached milestones in legislating or revising laws on water resource protection over the years, with the Yangtze River Protection Law and the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law being exemplary cases.
While establishing regulatory institutions concerning water eco-protection in seven major river basins, the country is also undertaking the mass screening of outfalls along the Yellow River, the "mother river" of the nation, to root out pollution risks, Huang said.
"PROMISES MUST BE KEPT"
China has announced that it will peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Pressing ahead on a green development path, it has made every effort to live up to its promises.
As the country seeks to make its energy structure greener, its installed renewable energy capacity has topped 1 billion kilowatts, expanding 210 percent from 10 years ago. It remains top globally in its installed capacities of wind, photovoltaic, hydro and biomass power, Huang said.
The country has also maximized the functions of its market-based mechanism to spur carbon-cutting endeavors. In July 2021, it launched a national carbon-trading market, which is the largest market of its kind worldwide and has incorporated over 2,100 major power-generation companies.
Thanks to its green drive, China has slashed its carbon emissions intensity by 34.4 percent over the past 10 years. Green has become the color of economic and social development, Huang said.
"Our attitude toward our carbon-peaking and carbon-neutrality goals is steadfast," Huang said. "Promises must be kept, and actions must be resolute." ■