Tibet maintains sound natural environment

Despite the pressure on environmental protection brought about by the rapid economic development, Tibet has adhered to the principle of "protecting the environment amid development and developing the economy amid environmental protection." In doing so, it has maintained a pristine ecological environment in most of its areas and remains one of the regions in the world with the best environmental quality, according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency on May 15.

Jiang Bai, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Department of Tibet Autonomous Region, said that surveys show that the water, air, sound, soil, radiation and ecological quality in Tibet have always remained sound.

He said that local environmental protection departments have effectively preserved Tibet's environmental safety by standardizing the environmental impact assessment of development and construction planning, strengthening environmental management of construction projects, intensifying environmental supervision of mineral resources exploration, fully banning gold and iron ore mining and stepping up environmental supervision over mineral and tourism resources development.

The Tibetan plateau is known as the earth's "Third Pole," with an average altitude of over 4,000 meters and a relatively fragile and sensitive ecological environment. Natural lakes and rivers formed by glaciers are scattered all over Tibet and some rivers are the sources of several major rivers in China and South Asia, so Tibet is regarded as "the water tower of Asia" and "the regulator of the world's weather."

Jiang said that the ecological quality conditions in Tibet, such as water and air, have always remained sound and most of its forests, rivers, lakes, meadows, wetlands, snow mountains, plants and animals are under proper protection. Local lakes are mostly in a virgin state without any human influence.

In the past five years, Tibet has spent more than 10 billion yuan to protect and improve its ecological environment.

According to sources, the environmental protection department of Tibet has launched many projects to protect the natural forests, to turn farmlands back into to forested areas and to establish nature reserves. Additionally, it has utilized many special funding sources, including the natural forest resource protection fund and the forest ecological benefit compensation fund, for the protection work of Tibet's ecological environment.

According to statistics, Tibet has established eight autonomous region-level natural reserves, carried out the normalized construction for the Mount Qomolangma Nature Reserve and the Lhalu Wetlands Nature Reserve, raised more than 90 million yuan of nature reserve and important wetlands protection funds and implemented seven nature reserve construction projects in the past five years.

As of the end of 2010, Tibet had established 47 nature reserves of various kinds with a total area of 413,700 square kilometers and also established 21 ecological function protection zones.

Also in the past five years, Tibet launched a pilot grasslands protection incentive project in China and established the forest ecological benefit compensation system which brought over 150 million mu of public welfare forests into the compensation range, and Tibet also planted more than 1.7 million mu of forest area, treated 640,000 mu of desert, returned 585,000 mu of farmlands to forest area, and return more than 59.1 million mu of pastures to grasslands.

Up to now, of the 15.5 billion yuan invested by the central government for the "Protection and Construction of the Tibet Ecological Security Shield" project, 2.5 billion yuan has been put into use, and 10 projects of the three primary types have been fully launched.

In the next five years, the environment protection department of Tibet will take constructing the Tibet Ecological Security Shield and an ecological Tibet as its goal and will adopt measures such as establishing a long-term ecological compensation mechanism, strengthening the energy conservation and emissions reduction, insisting on the principle of making decisions that consider both environment and development and enhancing the construction of its environment protection infrastructure to guarantee the well-being of Tibet's ecological environment.

In addition, the local financial department of Tibet will increase the investment in its environment protection as well. According to sources, the financial department of Tibet plans to inject 540 million yuan into its environment protection in 2011, up 29 percent compared to 2010.

By People's Daily Online