The MEE and NDRC jointly issued the Action Plan for the Uphill Battle for the Conservation and Restoration of the Yangtze River (hereinafter referred to as the Action Plan) lately, which proposes that by the end of the year 2020, more than 85 percent of the sections under the national monitoring program in the Yangtze River basin will have enjoyed clean or fairly clean water quality (at or better than Grade III national standard), and less than 2 percent of those sections will not have been fit for any use (worse than Grade V national standard); over 90 percent of the dark and odorous water bodies will have been under control in the built areas of the cities at or above prefectural level in the Yangtze Economic Belt; and more than 97 percent of the centralized drinking water sources will have attained or been better than Grade III national standard in the cities at or above prefectural level.
The Action Plan makes it clear that the ecological and environmental improvement of the Yangtze River will be at the core of our work, and that the mainstream and primary tributaries of the River and the major lakes and reservoirs along its banks will be the cutting point; that the mountain, water, forest, farmland, lake, and grass ecosystems will be managed systematically; that both pollution control and ecological conservation (two handholds) will be leveraged, water pollution control, water ecosystem restoration, and water resource conservation (three water concerns) will be integrated, the pollution from industrial, agricultural, domestic, and shipping sectors (four pollution sources) will be controlled, and further work will be done towards a harmonious, healthy, clean, safe, and beautiful Yangtze River (five goals). The Action Plan also makes it clear that it is imperative to develop creative institutions and mechanisms, strengthen the supervision and enforcement, enable all stakeholders to perform their due responsibilities, and work strenuously to tackle pressing ecological and environmental problems, so as to ensure the gradual restoration of the River’s ecosystem functions and the constant improvement of its environment.
The Action Plan lists eight tasks, which is, tighten the control of the ecological and environmental spaces, and strictly observe the ecological conservation redlines; canvass and rectify the sewage outlets and promote the unitary regulation on land and in water; step up the control of industrial pollution and effectively prevent ecological and environmental risks; continue to improve the living environment in the countryside, and control the non-point source pollution in the agricultural sector; strengthen the weakness in environmental infrastructure and ensure the supply of safe drinking water; strengthen the control of shipping pollution and prevent the environmental risks at harbors and ports; optimize the allocation of water resources and make sure to meet the water demand for ecological purposes; enhance the ecosystem protection and severely crack down on ecological damages.
To successfully carry out those tasks, the document says it is imperative to strengthen the leadership of the CPC, and make sure that the CPC committees and government departments of the same level share accountability for ecological and environmental protection, and that leading officials of all levels shoulder the responsibility of ecological and environmental protection in addition to their work duties. Also, it is important to improve the policies, laws, regulations, and standards, provide stronger legislative support for the preservation of the River, and push for the formulation of local environmental standards; improve the investment and compensation mechanisms, expand the investment and financing channels, and improve the watershed ecological compensations; provide stronger science and technology support, work harder at the practical use of the research findings, and develop energy-efficient and environment-friendly industries; tighten the ecological and environmental supervision and compliance inspection, carry out ecological and environmental inspections, and improve the monitoring and early warning capacities; promote public participation, increase the release of environmental information, and mobilize the whole nation in our endeavors.