New ideas floated to curb carbon emissions

Province introduces broad range of measures to promote clean development and financially benefit residents. Zhao Ruixue reports

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Thousands of solar panels of a photovoltaic plant fl oat on a reservoir in Liaocheng, Shandong province. ZHANG ZHENGXIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY
Thousands of solar panels of a photovoltaic plant fl oat on a reservoir in Liaocheng, Shandong province. ZHANG ZHENGXIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Published: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 11:24 AM

A woman in Jinan, Shandong province, opens a mini- programme on her mobile phone that tracks, encourages and rewards carbon reduction to see how much she has earned from selling recyclable items over the past two months. The amount is a respectable 255 yuan ($35), according to the mini-programme Tanhui Qilu, one of the innovative measures introduced in Shandong as part of its efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices among the public, communities and businesses. The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the app makes it easier to embrace a green lifestyle. “The ‘carbon-inclusive’ house where I can sell recyclable waste is the part I like most. It’s a convenient way to deal with waste.”

A fisherman checks buoys made from eco-friendly materials that pose no harm to the ocean environment at an aquaculture farm in Rongcheng, Shandong. LI XINJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY
A fisherman checks buoys made from eco-friendly materials that pose no harm to the ocean environment at an aquaculture farm in Rongcheng, Shandong. LI XINJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY

She tries to reduce her carbon emissions by walking or using buses to get around and selling recyclable items such as cardboard cartons, plastic and clothing via the platform, she said. Over the past five months she has managed to reduce her carbon dioxide emissions by 572 kilogrammes, the mini-programme tells her.

She has also collected 252 carbon credits by practising low-carbon activities and answering questions about carbon emissions, she said. These credits can be exchanged for tickets to scenic spots and to pay for hotel rooms.

Wu Hongyang, director of the climate change response office of Shandong’s Department of Ecology and Environment, said, “The carbon-inclusive platform encourages public participation in energy-saving and carbon emission-reduction actions, promoting sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles.”

It also plays a crucial role in leading Shandong towards green, low-carbon and high-quality development, he said.

Since China set the goals of reaching peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060, green and low-carbon concepts and innovations have been applied in people’s daily activities and in industry.

The country has established 572 national-level demonstration areas of ecological civilisation construction, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment says. In addition, 240 bases for innovative practices in line with the concept of “lucid waters and lush mountains” being “invaluable assets” have been established, with 32 demonstration areas and 11 bases in Shandong. Shandong has ramped up its efforts on green development in various sectors, from grassroots initiatives to provincial-level projects, and established a pilot zone for green, low-carbon and high-quality development, the first of its kind in the country.

One major achievement is restoring the Yellow River estuary in Dongying, where the waterway flows into the sea.

After 30 years the Yellow River knife fish has been spotted again, thanks to efforts to restore the ecological balance in the area, Shandong’s ecology and environment department said. The knife fish is a rare species that lives mainly in the lower reaches of the river. Because of overfishing and the low water runoff in the river basin, the knife fish population has been declining since the 1990s. Steps have been taken to restore the delta’s ecological system in recent years, in line with the national strategy of promoting ecological conservation and the high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin.

These measures include restoration projects such as supplementary water supplies to ensure the health of wetlands, cordgrass eradication and offshore bio diversity conservation . Monitoring has also been set up in the delta to manage data on meteorology, water and soil quality, and marine life.

Protecting the habitats of key species such as cranes, black-billed gulls and Oriental white storks has also been given priority, along with preserving native flora such as wild soybeans. Aquatic life is also being increased to boost biodiversity levels.

The restored ecological system has benefitted residents living near the Yellow River who are eyeing tourism opportunities. In Yangmiao, Kenli district, Dongying, next to the river new residential buildings sit in neat rows. The community’s amenities include a seniors’ canteen, kindergarten, clinic and fitness room.

In addition, 140 old houses are due to be renovated and upgraded in two phases, in an e˝ ort to create a rural tourism destination. The project began trial operations in September and is expected to create more than 200 jobs, said Zhang Mairong, an official of the community.

In the mountainous areas of Shandong, the promotion of ecological conservation has enhanced the development of the agriculture and tourism industries. In Mengyin county, Linyi, known for its hilly, wooded terrain, the promotion of ecological conservation has aided the peach-growing industry, providing livelihoods for more than 100,000 farmers, the county government said.

The county has a rich ecological system, with 73 per cent of its area covered by forests and a diverse range of plant and animal species. Its natural beauty has attracted tourists, who visit during peach blossom season and contribute to the local economy.

In Xizhaojiazhuang village in Lanshan district, Rizhao, what was once a putrid eyesore has been turned into a garden landscape. The village had struggled with sewage issues related to livestock farming and domestic waste. To deal with the problem, a sewage treatment station was built and a network of pipes installed to centrally treat sewage from every household.

“The treated water meets standards and can be used to create wetland landscapes and irrigate farmland,” said Li Xilin, an official of the village.

With the sewage problem addressed, the village upgraded and renovated the area surrounding the pond, with trees and flowers planted to transform the once dank, polluted area into a garden.

In addition, the villagers have established tea gardens so tourists can experience picking leaves. Shandong is committed to the concept of “lucid waters and lush mountains” being “invaluable assets” and prioritises construction of an ecological civilisation, said the Governor of Shandong, Zhou Naixiang, at the China Ecological Civilisation Jinan Annual Conference.

The province is seeking to ensure the achievements of green, low-carbon and high-quality development benefit the well-being of its people, Zhou added.

A fisherman checks buoys made from eco-friendly materials that pose no harm to the ocean environment at an aquaculture farm in Rongcheng, Shandong. LI XINJUN / FOR CHINA DAILY


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