Environmental protection had been mentioned 12 times during the third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee that has just concluded. The ultimate goal in this regard is to boost a harmony development between man and nature by focusing on the ecological system reform, accelerating ecological civilization development and improving the mechanism of land resources exploitation, resource conservation as well as ecological environment protection.
Tibet Autonomous Region, acting on the requirements of the session, has been consistently deepening its ecological preservation and reform. The Nagqu Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region has further beefed up its efforts in ecological protection since the beginning of this year through rigorous implementation and supervision to ensure a sound environment in northern Tibet.
Key ecological projects
Efforts have been made in the planning and construction of ecological shelter, in the acceleration of protection of grasslands, forests, wetlands and natural reserves. Throughout the whole year, 180 hectare of forests have been planted in key planned areas, 180 hectares of mountains have been closed and returned to forests and 60 hectares afforestation has been finished in waste land.
Long-term compensation-through-economic return mechanism
A compensation mechanism has been put in place. By the end of this year, pasturing will be prohibited on 450 hectares of grassland and a balance between grassland and livestock will strike 0.4 billion heactares. As a result, herdsmen will reap a bumper harvest in terms of income. More efforts will be made to consummate the existing compensation-through-economic return mechanism on grassland, wetlands and forests to achieve a win-win outcome among ecological protection, economic development and improvement of livelihood.
Enhancement of monitoring and law enforcement
A prefecture-level environment monitoring station along with 10 county-level stations are going to be completed by the end of next year. Environment monitoring will be intensified to prevent any project with high pollution, high emission and energy consumption. Resource development and environmental protection during key projects and road construction will also be attached with great importance. Any violation would be penalized in compliance with the law to avoid harm during construction.
Improvement of ecological civilization
An evaluation system of social development will be improved and a complete assessment system and reward punishment system will be established to ensure a trade-off between economy and ecology. Ecological-related knowledge will be popularized to the general public to raise preservation awareness.
While aiming to intensify efforts in environmental protection in Tibet Autonomous Region, the Chinese central government has been committed to the sustainable development of Tibet during the past few decades and achieved remarkable results.
The Tibet Plateau is "the third-cleanest area in the world in terms of its environment," after the South Pole and North Pole, says a white paper issued in October, according to Xinhua News Agency.
"It has a clean and transparent atmospheric environment, and similar contents of pollutants to the North Pole," says the white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council.
A flock of sheep are seen beside Lake Namtso in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 19, 2013. Namtso, meaning "the heavenly lake" in Tibetan language, has become one of the preferences for a growing number of tourists to Tibet. [Photo/Xinhua]
Tibet has few types and low concentrations of pollutants, compared to other places, the white paper says, adding that its atmospheric content of heavy metals is close to the background value of such elements in the global atmosphere.
In addition, the atmospheric content of heavy metals in Lhasa is much lower than that in densely populated areas and industrialized regions, it says.
The average annual mass concentration of PM2.5 -- airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is 10 micrograms per cubic meter in Tibet's non-metropolitan areas, 14.5 micrograms per cubic meter in Lhasa, and less than one-tenth of those of the areas with intensive human activities.
The white paper says the major rivers and lakes in Tibet maintain fine water quality, and the concentration of heavy metals is near the background level of global rivers and lakes ecosystem, indicating that they have not been polluted by human activities.
Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has witnessed a trend of significantly reducing sandstorms in the past 50 years, according to an official bulletin released on Thursday.
From 1961 to 2012, the records of the region's 18 meteorological stations show that the number of days with sandstorms per decade reduced by 26.4 days on average, said the Tibetan Climate Change Detection Bulletin.
Du Jun, deputy director with the Tibetan climate center, attributed the trend to calmer wind speed and a declining number of windy days in the autonomous region.
In the past five decades, the average wind speed in Tibet has lowered by0.1 meters per second per decade, the number of windy days have also been decreasing at 9.8 days per decade.
The calming upper westerly jet steam is the main factor that led to the weakening wind speed and decline in the number of days with high wind. And the region's increasing vegetation coverage is also helpful in reducing sandstorms, said Du.
Tibet has a forested area of 14.71 million hectares, which endows the region with a forest coverage rate of 11.98 percent, thanks to multiple major afforestation and desertification control projects.