Report on the state of environmental protection in China

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A recent report by the Chinese branch of Ford Better World analyses the situation regarding environmental protection and nature reserves in China and worldwide. The report stresses that according to WWF’s living planet index (LPI), the global wildlife population will decrease 67% by 2020 compared with 1970, meaning that the overall situation for environmental protection can hardly be seen as optimistic. With intensified environmental degradation, continued climate change and the increased risk of species extinction, new efforts are required all over the world.

A key nation in environmental protection, China has 2750 nature reserves (including 474 national nature reserves), which take up 14.8% of the national territory. Currently, nature reserves of various types are approximately 18% of the national territory, which is slightly above the global average (17%). When it comes to species protection, 89% of wild animals are under special state protection and 90% of terrestrial natural ecological systems are protected. However, it is found that there is a big gap between China and other countries in the aspect of marine protection.

The article also points out some other problems in China’s environmental protection. First of all, there are various types of reserves under multi-management. China has 14 types of reserves, including protected zones, geological parks and “famous scenery” scenic regions, and 12 relevant ministries. Secondly, relevant laws and regulations are inadequate, since there is only the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Nature Reserves. Among 12 recognised types of protections, only two are under national legislation. It is thus hard to promote environmental protection because of insufficient laws and fragmented reserves. Thirdly, the present situation regarding species protection is not optimistic. The report claims that only 10% of species’ living conditions can be said to have taken a turn for the better. According to data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s 2016 high spectrum remote sensing, there were human activities in 446 national nature reserves, and 150,000 cases of human encroachment.