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Circular economy awareness

Updated: 2015-06-10 07:46
(China Daily)

Circular economy awareness

The Shanghai-Nantong Yangtze Bridge under construction on the Nantong side of the river in Jiangsu province. Fixed-asset investment growth further slowed to 13.9 percent in the first two months of this year. Xu Congjun / For China Daily

A recent report published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which claims China's industrial economy still lags 100 years behind the economies of Germany and Britain, has caused a huge stir among the Chinese public.

Partly because it came at a time when Chinese people are taking great pride in the remarkable progress their nation has made over the past decades, the report has drawn a great deal of attention. The accuracy of the conclusion remains unknown, but it is undeniable that China lags behind some developed countries in a variety of aspects, including its technology, craftsmanship standards, innovation capability, as well as the recycling of resources and sustainable development.

For a long time, resources for industrial production in China, whether energy or raw materials, have generally been used once and then treated as "industrial waste". It is unsustainable that these precious resources are treated this way, given that many of them are non-renewable. China's extensive industrial development model over the past three decades has resulted in it encountering resource scarcity at an early time. Worse, the untreated industrial waste and discharged polluted water have emerged as killers of the country's ecological system.

Germany, on the other hand, has a completely different approach to recycling resources, it attaches great importance to reusing consumed resources and has developed a series of advanced technologies for recycling them. For example, more than 95 percent of household garbage in Germany gets recycled a second or third time. Hazardous substances are usually separated from the rubbish so they can be properly dealt with.

What China lacks is the concept of the "circular economy" aside from the lack of some advanced technologies. We should establish an industrial development model focused on "sustainable development" rather than "short-term and one-time performance".

The above is a People's Daily article published on Tuesday.

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