BEIJING, July 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report by China.org.cn on a researcher’s perception on the achievements and strategies of urban ecology in three mega urban agglomerations in eastern China.
Nowadays, urban agglomerations in China have ushered in a new era as the pace setter of global urban agglomerations, and the multi-dimensional, long-term systematic and objective evaluation on the temporal change in eco-environment of three mega urban agglomerations in eastern China is crucial for promoting sustainable development of urban agglomerations, said Tang Lina, researcher of Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), in an article released by the Bulletin of Chinese Academy of Sciences (BCAS, in Chinese), a think tank journal supervised and sponsored by the CAS, which focuses on strategic and decision-making research.
According to the article, from 2000 to 2020, under the multiple effects of ecological protection policies, pollution prevention and control policies at the national and regional levels, the mega urban agglomerations in eastern China demonstrated a fluctuating upward trend of overall eco-environmental quality.
Since 2012, there have been historic, transitional, and comprehensive changes in the eco-environment of three mega urban agglomerations, including significant improvement in the ecological quality, environmental quality, efficiency of resource and energy utilization, and eco-environment management capabilities of the mega urban agglomerations. These changes have laid a solid foundation for the regional ecological progresses and high-quality sustainable development, and provided the best practice for the development of eco-environment in other urban agglomerations in China.
Why does China attach great importance to the protection of urban ecology?
Tang points out in the article, "as the main destinations for the shift of the world economic center, urban agglomerations represent the strategic core areas for national new urbanization and economic growth." The mega urban agglomerations, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Delta, and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, with 5.05% of national land area, 25.05% of the total population, and nearly 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP), serve as the core engines of China’s economic growth and an important carrier for China’s participation in global competition.
However, the article mentions, "intensive human activities have placed enormous pressure on the eco-environment of the three mega urban agglomerations, thus crippling the sustainable development of urban agglomerations." For many years, research institutions such as Chinese Academy of Sciences and relevant scientific research institutes in universities have carried out a lot of research, providing strong technological support for the ecological progress of urban agglomerations.
A report released at 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012 noted, "We should make scientific plans for the scale and layout of urban agglomerations; and we should make small and medium-sized cities and small towns better able to develop industries, provide public services, create jobs, and attract population." Meanwhile, in order to improve the eco-environment of urban agglomerations, enhance their people’s well-being, and achieve their sustainable development, China has introduced a series of policies on ecological protection and pollution prevention and control at the national and local levels, and put in place numerous measures and actions for environmental protection.
Specifically, since the 18th CPC National Congress, ecological conservation has become part of the "Five in One" overall layout of the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The overall layout refers to the coordination of economic development, political building, cultural development, social progress and ecological conservation. President Xi Jinping’s thought on ecological conservation has provided fundamental strategic guidance for the practice of the efforts to keep our skies blue, our waters clear, and our land pollution-free in the three major urban agglomerations in eastern China. In 2018, China incorporated ecological conservation into the Constitution, providing fundamental legal support for the ecological conservation in urban agglomerations.
Thanks to the efforts made by the central government and the Chinese people, China has achieved significant improvement in the quality of atmospheric environment and sustained improvement of the quality of water environment. The average annual concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) of the three mega urban agglomerations increased first and then decreased. It shows sustained improvement in the proportion of good quality of surface water and in the efficiency of resource and energy utilization, accompanied by a remarkable decrease in the pollutant emissions per unit GDP. Moreover, its eco-environmental infrastructure became much better.
To promote the further high-quality development of the mega urban agglomerations, five solutions and prospects are proposed as follows.
First, China should seize the opportunity to stimulate economic transformation and structural reform through low-carbon development, so as to put the mega urban agglomerations into a virtuous cycle of green and low-carbon development.
Second, it is necessary to strengthen regional alignment and inter-department collaboration, to ensure the coordination of multiple elements of the eco-environment and cross-regional coordination.
Third, the country should strengthen the full-life cycle environmental risk management of chemical substances, and build a policy and standard system for environmental risk management of toxic chemical substances.
Fourth, it is needed to promote the implementation of targeted policies tailored to different categories and zones of the mega urban agglomerations and implement targeted policies based on their development orientation.
Finally, China should keep leveraging the role of technological progress in supporting ecological management.
Researcher shares insights into achievements and strategies of urban ecology in E China