Keyword: Environment

A perspective on China's ban on importing foreign waste

A perspective on China’s ban on importing foreign waste

This July, China announced a ban on the import of 24 types of solid waste by the end of the year, with the motivation of protecting its environmental interests and the public’s health. Three month into the new regulations, Hu Boyang from Narada Insight shared his perspective on the ban. China has been a top destination for waste for years, importing garbage from around the world for recycling to secure cheap commodities for manufacturers, at the risk however of severe environmental costs. To elaborate Hu takes Guiyu, the notorious E-Waste town in Guangdong, as an example: the considerable profits from the recycling of electronics has brought thousands of workshops to …read more

Tourists fined for chasing Tibetan antelopes in car

Tourists fined for chasing Tibetan antelopes in car

A few days ago, on October 6th, an internet user posted photos on Weibo showing two off-road vehicles chasing down a herd of Tibetan antelopes in the Gobi Desert. The accompanying post claimed that some of the animals had been killed or wounded. On October 8th the forestry department of the Tibetan Autonomous Region released the results of their investigation into this incident, and disclosed that each of the seven tourists involved had been fined 15,000 RMB, for a total of 105,000 RMB in fines. According to the investigation the group of selfish tourists entered a restricted area of the Siling Co national nature reserve, in order to take photos of …read more

Three food delivery companies make changes after being sued for polluting practices

Three food delivery companies make changes after being sued for polluting practices

On September 1st, the Beijing Fourth Intermediate People’s Court formally accepted a lawsuit by the Chongqing Green Volunteers Union (重庆市绿色志愿者联合会), suing three of China’s most popular food delivery service platforms, Baidu Food Delivery (百度外卖), Meituan Food Delivery (美团外卖) and Eleme Food Delivery (饿了么), for their environmentally harmful practices. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff appealed to the court to order the three companies to change their management model which damages the environment and wastes resources by providing every customer with disposable dishware and plastic bags, without asking them whether they need these products or not. The plaintiff claims that the three food delivery services should set options in their apps to allow …read more

Xinjiang announces plan to use renewable energy for heating

According to a report by the National Development and Reform Commission (发改委) of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region on August 31st, Xinjiang has completed its “Renewable energy clean heating program 2017-2021”. According to the plan, by 2021 heating from “surplus” renewable energy sources will cover around 38 million square meters across the whole of Xinjiang, and 1.17 million tons of standard coal will be saved by the use of this kind of heating. At present, Xinjiang provides heating to areas totalling around 675 million square meters, including 235 million square meters equipped with gas-fired boiler heating, 80 million square meters with heat and power combination heating, 177 million square meters with …read more

10 years since China’s ban on plastic bags, food delivery services now a major source of plastic waste

It has been almost 10 years since December 2007, when a ban on free plastic bags went into effect across China. An article has appeared on Chinese media outlet Ifeng, asking what the ban’s results have been. Observation reveals that there are still small supermarkets and shops that provide free plastic bags for their customers. The real issue however is that the break-neck development of food delivery services and online shopping in recent years has created a major new source of plastic pollution. The huge popularity of food delivery services in Chinese cities represents a particular environmental headache. Most of the take-out lunch boxes are made of non-degradable materials, which increases …read more

Lake protection plan a raw deal for Dali garlic farmers

Editor’s Note This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone, as part of a series about life along the Hu line, the imaginary line proposed by geographer Hu Huanyong in the thirties that stretches from Heilongjiang in the North to Yunnan in the South, dividing China into two roughly equal parts. You can find the original here. YUNNAN, Southwest China — Combing the dry soil with pitchforks, a group of women unearthed the last of the season’s garlic bulbs. They exchanged upbeat banter in their mother tongue, Bai, but their cheerfulness belied the hardships they’ve endured. In an effort to protect iconic Erhai Lake from harmful agricultural runoff, the government in …read more

Over 300 million Yuan in fines handed out for environmental violations

Over 300 million Yuan in fines handed out for environmental violations

Beginning in April, China’s Central Environmental Inspector (CEI) has unearthed a series of environmental violations that have led to over 300 million yuan in fines, while conducting inspections in Tianjin, Shanxi, Liaoning, Anhui, Fujian, Hunan and Guizhou provinces. The CEI has been conducting inspections on factories and related departments for three years now, but this particular investigation has led to severe fines and consequences due to its three-step investigative process. The first step of the investigation was completed by May 12. It was announced that the CEI had already worked on more than 11 thousand cases of environmental violations, which amounted to over 90 million yuan in fines for more …read more

The Nature Conservancy latest overseas NGO to successfully register

The Nature Conservancy latest overseas NGO to successfully register

Representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Beijing’s Public Security Bureau.  The Nature Conservancy (TNC) received its registration credentials from the Beijing Public Security Bureau on May 24th, becoming the latest international NGO to be able to register in China since the Overseas NGO Law was passed in January. Established in the US in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is now the world’s largest non-profit environmental protection organization. Currently operating in more than 60 nations around the globe, TNC overseas 500,000 square kilometers of protected nature reserves, 8,000 kilometers of rivers and more than 100 marine habitat zones. In addition, TNC engages in various projects around the world, including those involving biodiversity, …read more

Greenpeace report reveals 60% of Chinese shoppers spend excessively

Greenpeace report reveals 60% of Chinese shoppers spend excessively

This week Greenpeace released a report on international shopping habits, compiling surveys from Mainland China, Taiwan, Italy, Hong Kong and Germany, highlighting an increasing trend to overspend on fashion due to pressure from social media and the ease of online shopping. Of particular concern to Greenpeace is the prevalence of shoppers who are aware that their overconsumption is damaging to the environment, others and even themselves. The report, entitled “After the Binge, the Hangover: Insights into the Minds of Clothing Consumers”, uses statistics from surveys of 5800 people commissioned by Greenpeace to answer fundamental questions about the habits of shoppers around the world. The surveys found that more than half …read more

Backpacker uses photography to expose Tibet's roadside trash

Backpacker uses photography to expose Tibet’s roadside trash

In 2016, a young Chinese man named Xue Bin backpacked through Sichuan and Tibet for 2200 kilometres. He walked along National Highway 318, China’s longest highway, that runs all the way from Shanghai to Tibet. Along the way the adventurous backpacker not only shot pictures of local residents and mountain vistas, but also captured some pressing environmental issues with his lens. While traveling along the highway, Xue Bin was startled by the amount of trash that other tourists had left behind before him. Beside Lamaya Township in far western Sichuan, Xue Bin noticed livestock rummaging around in the trash, eating leftover scraps of food from the mess. People from the village …read more

Inspections uncover slew of polluting companies in Northern China

Inspections uncover slew of polluting companies in Northern China

On March 30, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MeP) released its first quarterly report for 2017 on the air quality inspections it carries out, finding a series of concerning issues. Between February 15th and March 18th, the ministry conducted air quality inspections in various cities across Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Beijing and Tianjin. In addition, they also conducted nighttime inspections and spot-checks at 8,500 companies, discovering that more than 3,000 of them had some sort of issue. Among the issues, the report found inconsistencies in many companies’ heavy pollution contingency planes, which are designed to slash the amount of pollutants companies emit. One specific case revealed that a company’s contingency plan …read more

App allows users to plant trees in Inner Mongolia

App allows users to plant trees in Inner Mongolia

A televised charity show called “Looking at trees in Alashan” has attracted much attention over the last few days. It does not feature a television anchor or a talk show, but rather eight ordinary people who travel to Inner Mongolia to look at the trees that they planted through an app. Since the show has an audience of about 200 million, it may become the world’s largest charity broadcast. The popularity of the show points to a larger trend, which is the creation of new fundraising methods that utilize the internet to solve various social issues. The background to the show is as follows: in August 2016, Alipay released a …read more

Buddhist delegates to the National People's Congress hope to appoint National Vegetarian Day

Buddhist delegates to the National People’s Congress hope to appoint National Vegetarian Day

The deputy director of the Chinese Buddhist Society, the director of the Guangdong Buddhist Society and the Abbott of Guangzhou’s Guangxiaosi Temple have proposed to appoint China’s traditional Tomb Sweeping Festival as a “National Vegetarian Day.” Advocates hope that in addition to worshipping their ancestors, those celebrating the festival can give up meat in order to promote benevolence, environmentalism and the equality of all living creatures. In recent years the diets of the Chinese have been slowly changing, with people not only saying no to meat for religious reasons, but also for environmental, health and moral factors. Vegetarians in China have been increasingly rapidly, even though the current 50 million …read more

How does one Wrap up a 370 Million Yuan Environmental Public Interest Lawsuit?

How does one Wrap up a 370 Million Yuan Environmental Public Interest Lawsuit?

This article discusses the recent failure of an environmental public interest lawsuit initiated by two Chinese NGOs against some polluting companies in Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. There are fears that the ruling against the two NGOs, that will now be forced to pay heavy legal expenses, may discourage other such lawsuits in the future.

Weibo post sparks national inquiry into illegal pangolin smuggling

Weibo post sparks national inquiry into illegal pangolin smuggling

Indigenous to Africa and most of Southern and Eastern Asia, pangolins are a species of scale-covered mammals that resemble anteaters. The scaly critters are prized in Chinese cuisine and traditional medicine for their supposed healing qualities. In addition, their scaly hides are sought after as decorations and ornamental objects. Due to overhunting and global climate change however, pangolins have become one of the most threatened species on the planet. In 2014, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature categorized all species of pangolin as being threatened with extinction, with two species critically endangered. Killing, consuming, or selling pangolins in China is illegal and punishable by up to ten years …read more

How one dirty Chinese city went green

This article was originally published by the Paulson Institute. You can see the original here. The Paulson Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit “think and do” tank grounded in the principle that today’s most pressing economic and environmental challenges can be solved only if the United States and China work in complementary ways. Its mission is to strengthen U.S.-China relations and to advance sustainable economic growth and environmental protection in both countries. Founded in 2011 by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the 74th Secretary of the Treasury and former Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, the Institute is based in Chicago and has offices in Washington, San Francisco, and Beijing. Learn more at www.paulsoninstitute.org   …read more

China’s ministries set goals on social issues for 2017

China’s central ministries recently held meetings to set their work plans for 2017 on social issues including environmental protection, housing, health and food safety. What will the focal points of their work be in 2017? Let’s take a look.   Environmental Protection Ministry The ministry revealed its plans to tackle Chinese cities’ notorious winter pollution, tightening the regulations on pollution in the winter season in the following six ways: clamping down on coal-fired boilers; intensifying supervision on bulk coal control in urban villages, mixed urban-rural areas and rural communities; staggering some business operations to non-peak periods during the winter; improving industrial emission standards; standardizing businesses that are low-cost, scattered, disordered …read more

Five public interest litigation precedents published by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate

Five public interest litigation precedents published by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate

Public interest litigation initiated by procuratorates has become a new frontier for procuratorates to exercise their judicial supervision authority, and this issue has received heightened attention from all sections of society. After one and a half years’ piloting, on January 4 the Supreme Procuratorate published five public interest litigation guiding precedents. Exploring the establishment of a public interest litigation system by the procuratorates was proposed during the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. On July 1 2015, a resolution was passed by the 15th session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress that authorized the Supreme Procuratorate to spearhead a two-year program piloting public interest litigation in the …read more