Green tech helps both GDP and air

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-4 22:18:01

It's a matter that admits of no delay to control the smog, long a bane of many Chinese cities. As the smog is considered hazardous to people's health and lives, it has evoked serious concern among the Chinese public, and how to combat the smog has garnered unprecedented attention during the ongoing two sessions.

We have to face up to the conundrum. It requires concerted efforts by the governments, enterprises, scholars and the ordinary people. Sighing over the deteriorated air quality is of no help. We have to take practical actions.

There is a long-time battle ahead. The smog that is forecasted to plague China for at least another 10 to 20 years cannot be curbed overnight through one document or one directive. The problem of smog highlights the price China is paying for rapid development over the past decades, during which environmental protection was overlooked in the rush to boost economy.

As a Chinese proverb goes, "Recovery from illness is as slow as reeling silk," and the country and the public have to be prepared for a prolonged fight against the smog.

Sandstorm in the 1980s and 1990s posed no less hazards to Chinese people than today's haze.

I was born in the north of Inner Mongolia's Kubuqi Desert that was one of the three sources of the sandstorm once tormenting China. I remembered vividly that every meal was mixed with sand in my childhood. But now, the formerly barren Kubuqi Desert after 27 years of efforts in desertification control has become a green paradise. What we need to fight against the smog is confidence and patience. 

Improving livelihood and better health are the two fondest hopes of the public. To realize the former we need to boost economy while reinforced efforts should be pooled on the treatment of the smog to keep fit. Some argue that smog control will contradict economic development, slowing down growth and jeopardizing enterprises' interests, but I think it is the other way around.

Economic development and smog control must be coordinated and mutually reinforcing. That's where the transformation of China lies. China is in a critical period of transition, in which aims to pursue green GDP. China has issued a slew of policies, including eliminating outmoded production capacity, limiting pollutant emission, encouraging the development of high-tech sector and promoting the use of clean energy. All these policies are conducive to the reduction of the smog.

Smog control will not bog down the GDP growth, instead, it will help create more green GDP.

Take the Kubuqi Desert again. It was once a barren desert producing nothing, but through desertification control and development, it has become an eco-economic zone where agriculture, tourism, and the energy sector have been thriving. Over the past 27 years, the region has produced over 30 billion yuan  ($4.7 million) worth of GDP.

There is a huge market and potential for enterprises to invest in rising and high-tech industries, which can not only tackle the smog conundrum but also propel economic development.

Of course, we have to admit that despite the great efforts local governments have made, visible effects of smog control haven't been achieved yet. It's a long-term campaign to transform the traditional industries with heavy energy consumption and pollution, and the stubborn groups of vested interests will act as a strong resistance.

In the long-lasting battle, we need to figure out the link between economic development and smog control, have confidence in the government's determination and ability to combat the smog, and cooperate with the government.  

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Yu Jincui based on an interview with Wang Wenbiao, a member of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and chairman of Elion Resources Group.

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