The Chinese government unveiled a plan in July 2017 to protect and improve the environment along the Yangtze River Economic Belt, which plays an important role in safeguarding the country's ecological safety.
The plan was jointly released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Water Resources.
Efforts over the past year have yielded some progress, said Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of ecology and environment, yet there are still several problems, such as the lack of integrated protection, excessive amount of pollutant emissions as well as imbalance between the economy and the environment.
The plan sets an upper limit on the usage of water resources along the belt, calls for an ecological "red line" to be placed to protect and restore the environment of certain key areas, requires water quality management to be based on a "bottom line" system to strengthen controls on pollution along the belt especially at drinking water sources, states that comprehensive pollution treatment in both urban and rural areas will be fully launched, and requires improved counter measures to be prepared for environmental emergencies. It also calls for closer regional coordination through an innovative environmental protection mechanism.
Environmental protection along the belt needs united efforts from different departments and regions. They should break through the boundaries and carry out joint projects with detailed timetables and blueprints, according to Zhao.