left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Review of integration plan's environmental impact vital

Updated: 2015-10-29 07:48
(China Daily)

Review of integration plan's environmental impact vital

View of Beijing,Tianjin and Hebei province in map. April 14, 2014. [Photo/IC]

Will the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province serve as a development model that balances environmental protection and economic growth? The program that the Ministry of Environmental Protection launched on Tuesday to assess the integration plan's impact on the environment is meant to do as much as possible to ensure this goal becomes a reality.

The integrated development of the two metropolises and neighboring Hebei province in North China is the brainchild of the top leadership and intended to blaze a new trail out of the rut of growth that has come at a cost to the environment. It is also meant to ease the environmentally damaging side effects of Beijing and Tianjin's rapid urban growth in the past decades.

In this strategic plan, many of the urban functions of Beijing and Tianjin will be transferred to Hebei to bolster its growth, which will hopefully relieve both cities of the increasingly heavy burden of their growing populations and environmental degradation.

However, Hebei has seven of the 10 most polluted cities in the country and contributes considerably to the air pollution of North China. Shutting down polluting enterprises and ensuring the environmentally friendly upgrading of industry are still its main task. So the importance of this environmental impact assessment should not be underestimated.

But whether the assessment makes a difference to the approval of specific projects is the key issue.

It has not been rare for some polluting projects to get a green light long before their impact on the environment has been assessed by environmental departments as required by law.

Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei are home to more than 100 million people. Their integrated development coincides with the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), by the end of which the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way is supposed to be realized.

So whether this strategic development scheme will be carried out in an environmental friendly manner will not just affect this area per se, it will also have great implications for the overall economic development and social progress of the entire nation.

It should not be just the environmental watchdogs who show concern for the environmental impact of the planned integration; the top authorities, local government leaders and relevant departments should also attach enough importance to this assessment and its necessary intent of preventing polluting projects from being approved.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.