Governor pledges greater focus on further improving air, water quality
Jiangsu province, the second-largest contributor to China's GDP, will pay more attention to environmental protection and high-quality development, according to its governor, Wu Zhenglong.
"Jiangsu has taken major actions to address pollution over the past few years," he said on the sidelines of the ongoing sessions of the top legislative and political advisory bodies.
"We're committed to achieving harmony between people and nature, coinciding with regulations from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China."
He said Jiangsu has carried out a number of policies and achieved notable progress in environmental protection, following the instructions delivered by President Xi Jinping during his visit to the eastern province in December 2014, when he called for a strong economy, rich and diverse population, beautiful environment, and a highly civilized society.
By the end of last year, more than 1,500 chemical factories had been shut down, with coal consumption reduced by more than 10 million metric tons since the launch of an action plan in 2016 to cut production in energy-consuming industries, treat various kinds of pollution effectively and improve ecological conservation skills.
"The province's economy has increased by 63.8 percent over the past five years," Wu said. "Our environment has also seen significant improvements in that time."
In 2017, the province's average level of PM2.5－harmful particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns－declined from 73 to 49 micrograms per cubic meter, down 32.9 percent from 2013. Meanwhile, "good air" days accounted for 68 percent of the total last year, up nearly 8 percentage points, he said.
Jiangsu has basically eliminated black water, with only 1 percent listed below Grade V－the lowest level in China's five-tier water quality grading system－down nearly 3 percentage points from 2014.
He said the province has established 21 national ecological industrial parks, and has 63 national ecological cities and counties. All 13 cities are listed as national garden cities.
"We're very aware that we have a long way to go to control emissions, improve the environment and eliminate environmental hazards," Wu said. "We will add stricter strategies with higher standards to our fight against pollution and promote the economy's green transformation."
The province will continue to treat air, water and soil pollution and strictly deal with illegal acts, he said.
Jiangsu, the country's largest manufacturing province, reported annual GDP growth of 7.2 percent last year. Its GDP surpassed 8.5 trillion yuan ($1.34 trillion), Wu said during the annual session of the 13th Jiangsu People's Congress in January.
It has become China's only province to have three cities－Suzhou, Nanjing and Wuxi－with GDP above 1 trillion yuan. Jiangsu has set its GDP target at over 7 percent, according to the Government Work Report delivered to the provincial people's congress.