Changde: Striding Towards Establishing a Model City of Ecological Civilization Construction
Changde has witnessed continuous improvement in its eco-environment as a result of years of ecological civilization construction.
Why does Changde aim to establish a national model city of ecological civilization construction?
“This is a positive move to implement Premier Xi’s ideas of ecological civilization, and an important way of enhancing the city’s bearing capacity of resource and environment, and pushing high quality and sustainable development of economical society as well. Meanwhile, it is a substantial overall plan of preventing and treating pollution, rectifying problems from central and provincial ecological and environmental preservation supervision, and repairing ecological environment of the Yangtze River Economical Zone. It will better serve people’s needs of good ecology and environment.” said a leader in charge of the Municipal Ecological Environment Bureau.
According to requirements in The Plan, Changde started to usher in an era of “blue sky, green earth and clean water”.
“Establish Changde as a provincial model city of ecological civilization construction by 2020, and build it into a national one by 2025, guaranteeing people a life with blue sky, green earth and clean water.”——Quoted from The Plan of Establishing Changde as a Model City of Ecological Civilization Construction(2016-2025).
Solid foundation for the construction of ecological civilization
Pleasant green and fragrant flowers mark Changde’s midsummer.
Changde’s ecological environment has been continuously improved in recent years: in 2018, the number of days with good ambient air quality in urban area increased by 21 days compared to that of last year, and the rate of good air also increased by 7%; among 23 provincial and higher level’s assessing parts, there were 22 fracture surfaces up toⅡor Ⅲ class of water quality, nine counties or higher level’s water quality of the drinking water source reached the standard, and the water quality of Shanbo Lake was continuously improved as well; remarkable achievements were attained in the construction of the pilot zone of earth-pollution prevention and treatment, which became a propagable and reproducible project of treating soil pollution in Changde.
All the achievements mentioned above have a close relationship with the construction of Changde’s ecological civilization.
Back to 2004, Resolutions on Further Strengthening Environmental Preservation and Constructing an Eco-city was examined and adopted in the 15th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Fourth Changde Municipal People’s Congress, an official beginning of constructing Changde as a national Eco-city.
The Plan of Establishing Changde as a Model City of Ecological Civilization Construction (2016-2025) was compiled in 2016, and was approved by the experts of Ministry of Environmental Protection in October of the same year. In August, 2018, it was approved by the Standing Committee of Changde Municipal People’s Congress, making it become the first municipal plan approved both by experts and the Standing Committee of Municipal People’s Congress. The Plan is an effective connection with Changde’s national economic and social development plan, the overall plan of land use, the overall plan of the urban, the development plan of industrial estate, the environmental plan, and the development plan for new industries, focusing on the completion condition of the 12th Five-Year Plan, and fully absorbing achievements of the 13th Five-Year Plan.
On one hand, Changde has always made efforts in promoting economical development, constructing towns and countries, and ensuring people’s livelihood; on the other hand, it has established a series of provincial eco-counties, national or provincial eco-towns or eco-villages. At present, Shimen County and Taoyuan County have become provincial eco-counties, directly accessible to applying for national model counties of ecological civilization construction. Taoyuan County plans to build itself into a national model county in 2019. As a pilot county, Anxiang County has compiled its own plan of establishing itself as a model county of ecological civilization construction. Jinshi City is striving for becoming a model county in Hunan Province by 2020. In all, there are now 179 national and provincial eco-towns and eco-counties in Changde.
“Along with the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, implementation of the Yangtze River Economic Zone Strategies, the city cluster of Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan (Three plus Five), construction of Dongting Lake Ecological and Economic Zone, and construction of the national model district of ecological civilization in Wuling Mountain, Changde has transformed from ‘a blind area without the coverage of national strategies’ into ‘a lowland overlaid by national strategies’, embracing great opportunities of green development.” said a leader in charge of the Municipal Ecological Environment Bureau.
A certain gap still exists according to ecological civilization construction requirements.
“Although the proceeding speed of our city’s construction work is comparatively fast and some good foundation has already been laid before, there is still a certain gap compared to the ecological civilization construction requirements.” said a leader in charge of the Municipal Ecological Environment Bureau.
In terms of provincial model city’s indices of ecological civilization construction, altogether the requirement of thirty-five indices in six categories shall be met. Relying on previous construction basis, Changde has now more than thirty indices accounting for 80% have reached the standard. Still, there is some problem with five indices, either failing to reach the standard or attaining it in an unstable way. To be specific, the problematic indices include the ratio of ecological civilization construction in party and government performance appraisals, the increase range of the ratio of good ambient air days and the decrease range of the ratio of bad ambient air days, the ratio of defined ecological protection zones in the total area, water consumption of gross product per unit area, and the added industrial value per unit industrial land.
According to a survey, the city is now confronted with the following problems: green transformation in industry asks for a deeper promotion; upgrading ecological environment is facing increasing challenges; the quality of people’s living environment both in towns and counties needs to be improved; the construction system of ecological civilization is far from perfect; and the pressure of resource and surroundings continues to increase. The ecological civilization construction is in need of a set of practical and effective target and liability system, performance appraisal system and motivation system. At the same time, some districts and counties (cities) should develop the consensus that the ecological civilization construction is a primary task.
Establishing Changde as a model city of ecological civilization construction is just around the corner.
With pressing time and heavy task, how can the city succeed in becoming a model city?
On May 29th, the promotion meeting of ecological civilization construction was held in Changde, marking the beginning of a new phase.
Municipal Party Secretary and Director of the Standing Committee of Municipal People’s Congress Zhou Derui gave an instruction: “All departments of the city shall deeply learn and practice Premier Xi’s ideas of ecological civilization construction, positively make efforts in establishing the model city and pollution prevention and treatment, strictly adhere to the strategy of ‘opening up to boom the city, developing industry to set up the city’, and push the construction work into a new step.”
Municipal Vice Party Secretary and Mayor Cao Lijun made a remark: “Every department should take the political responsibility of the ecological civilization construction, making sure it’s our duty to defend our territory and devote our heart to it, so collective cooperation and teamwork is highly necessary. Strategies need to be specified, and effective implementation is required. All of you should see to implementing every policy in a spirit of knocking in a nail, ensuring new development and new progress.
This year, the 34th Executive Meeting of Municipal Government approved of setting up a working leading group of establishing Changde as a model city of ecological civilization construction, headed by major leaders of the municipal government. Till now, Changde has released a succession of government documents, including The Promotion Project for the Plan of Establishing Changde as a Model City of Ecological Civilization Construction (2016-2025) and 2019 Working Program of Constructing Changde as a Model City of Ecological Civilization.
At present, according to the general framework of “promoting balanced economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological progress” and the strategy of “Four Comprehensives”, deeply carrying out the development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing, guided by the convictions that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and mountains, rivers, forests, land and lakes form a community of shared life, Changde puts forward the “1686” Strategy in general：
“1”: one centre: realizing green development.
“6”: constructing six systems: ecological space, ecological economy, ecological environment, ecological life, ecological system and ecological culture.
“8”: eight crucial tasks: perfecting ecological civilization system, optimizing space development, promoting industrial green transformation, lifting life vitality in regions of rivers and lakes, guaranteeing the area’s ecological security, implementing comprehensive environmental management, improving living surroundings, and cultivating featured ecological culture.
“6”: six projects: promoting industrial environment-friendly transformation, construction of water towns in Jiangnan (the south of the Yangtze River), ecological security guarantee, environmental quality improvement, construction of eco-life and living environment, and carrying forward eco-culture.
Action speaks louder than words.
The following four steps are our priorities now:
Put forth efforts to lengthen the short stave compared to construction standards. First, give a full and comprehensive self-assessment for indices failing to meet standards, conduct a special research and find out reasons, and then hire experts to provide guidance in Changde and draw up an overall plan; second, set up periodical working objectives and measures for indices hard to meet standards in a short period; third, make sure responsible departments carry out their duties, set up a regular dispatching and coordination system, so that the indices can reach the standard stably in a long term.
Speed up promoting work priorities. First, supervise and guide all the districts (counties) to actively establish themselves as model counties of ecological civilization construction. Second, promote the battle of pollution prevention and treatment, and continually enhance the quality of ecological environment. Third, improve people’s living surroundings, accelerate the construction of the urban and town sewage treatment facilities and its pipe net, set up and optimize the system of urban and town household waste’ classification, repackaging, collection, transportation and disposal, promote household waste’s harmless disposal and resources’ construction, and speed up promoting the construction of urban green land. Fourth, boost the work of economical and intensive usage of resources and energy conservation and emission reduction, and raise the industrial added value of industrial land. Fifth, emphasize risk control of ecological environment, accelerate the construction of grid-based environmental regulation and supervision system, making sure no serious or mega emergent environment events occur in the whole city.
Strengthen construction of institutional mechanisms. First, set up scientific and normative working appraisal system of constructing a model city of ecological civilization, provide scientific appraisal for relevant responsible departments, make it clear that the construction work appraisal is closely related to performance appraisal, conduct working pressure, and finally enhance work initiative. Second, set up a motivation mechanism, give support to those districts and counties (cities) which have actively participated in the task with great investment and boost their work enthusiasm.
Popularize the concept of ecological civilization. First, fully launch publicity work for establishing Changde as a model city of ecological civilization construction, paying special attention to leading cadres of the party and government and ordinary people. Second, create featured columns on media, design work slogans, transmit its significance, scientific development concept, key objectives and measures in each period to every level of the city and create a strong construction atmosphere.
Against the blue sky and green water, Changde is striding towards a new phase of ecological civilization construction at a higher speed!