Environmental protection embraces internet to promote awareness
By Hu Binyi
April 22 marked the 50th anniversary of the "World Earth Day," an annual celebration of environmental protection. This year's event was different from previous ones due to social distancing and city lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outbreak might have hurt economies around the worldwide, but it helped the environment breathe a bit as roads were deserted, factories closed and human activities virtually came to a halt. Air quality in some of the world's most polluted cities have eased significantly thanks to the pandemic.
NASA says the levels of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas from car engines and power plants, have decreased by 10 to 30 percent across eastern and central China. However, environmental experts believe these improvements are only temporary and the urge to bring the economy back to normal would create even more air pollution.
One challenge is that consumers lack standards of sustainability. So, how to raise more awareness on environmental protection and responsible consumption? GoalBlue Low Carbon Development & Promotion Centre's Executive Director May Mei told CGTN that one answer could be to hold environmental protection events while engaging pop culture to influence consumers.
"For example we work with artists and illustrators to draw pictures and use them in subways to really provide concepts of how we could eat healthily and protect the environment," says Mei. More transparency on product information is needed, which May says could help consumers make a better choice.
Qianzhan industry research institute expects that the total output value of China's environmental protection industry will reach 13.5 trillion yuan (1.91 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2023. To reduce pollution and promote clean energy progress, 1.2 million new energy vehicles were sold in 2019 in China, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
Meanwhile, environmental protection is embracing the digital age. Internet company Alibaba has launched a project to recycle packaged boxes. Mei says that the e-commerce sector helps sustainable products be seen by consumers.
Mei told CGTN that if Chinese consumers choose environment-friendly products, this will influence the whole supply chain since China has a huge market.