Chart of the Day: China has achieved remarkable progress in eco-environmental construction
August 15 is China's first National Ecology Day. The designation aims to enhance public awareness and action to protect the ecological environment.
To meet the growing demand for a green environment and people's desire for a better life, China has always insisted that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets." Over the past decade, China has made concerted efforts to optimize green development through eco-environmental restoration, pollution control and prevention, and the green energy industry.
China has continuously promoted the foundation of nature reserves and built a nature reserve system with national parks as the main focus. According to the white paper titled "China's Green Development in the New Era" released by China's State Council Information Office, as of the end of 2021, nearly 10,000 protective areas of various types and levels had been established, covering more than 17 percent of land area on the Chinese Mainland.
From 2012 to 2021, 64 million hectares of trees were planted. During this period, desertification prevention and control was carried out over 18.53 million hectares of land, and more than 800,000 hectares of wetland were added or restored, according to the report. The forest coverage and the forest stock volume reached 24.02 percent and 19.5 billion cubic meters in 2022, respectively.
Pollution control and prevention
Urban and rural areas are the carriers of human settlements and activities. With priority given to environmental pollution control and green construction, China has also made some achievements in building a pleasant living environment. The average PM2.5 density of China's cities at the prefecture level and above dropped from 46 micrograms per cubic meter in 2015 to 29 micrograms per cubic meter in 2022. During the same period, the proportion of surface water at or above Grade III in the country's five-tier water quality system increased to 87.9 percent.
To build beautiful cities featuring harmony between humanity and nature, from 2012 to 2021, the green coverage of built-up urban areas reached 42 percent, and the per capita area of park greenery has increased from 11.8 square meters to 14.78 square meters.
Green and low-carbon industry development
China's green industries continue to grow. The renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, and China leads the world in the manufacture of clean energy generation facilities for wind and photovoltaic power. According to the report and the latest data from the National Development and Reform Commission of China, the proportion of clean energy sources in total energy consumption increased from 14.5 percent in 2012 to 25.9 percent by the end of 2022, and the proportion of coal dropped from 68.5 percent to 56.2 percent over the same period.
China has also vigorously promoted the use of new-energy vehicles. By the end of 2022, the sales of new energy vehicles jumped to 6.89 million, ranking the first for eight consecutive years in the world. In 2012, the sales of new energy vehicles were 13,000.