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Chengmai County Party Secretary Yin Libo: Chengmai's Role in Establishing a National Pilot Zone for Ecological Conservation

 Chengmai has gained worldwide recognition as a haven for longevity, a selenium-rich region, and a shining example of eco-consciousness in China. It proudly upholds the reputation of "green mountains and clear waters covering ten thousand hectares, with centenarians encountered every ten miles." Over the years, we have consistently prioritized ecological conservation as a paramount national concern.

Inspired by the resolute call of General Secretary Xi Jinping to champion ecological development and foster an ecological culture, we are resolute in our dedication to contribute our part to the establishment of a national pilot zone for ecological conservation and a premier green and low-carbon free trade port, underpinned by a world-class ecological environment.

In recent times, Chengmai has witnessed a remarkable and sustained enhancement of its ecological surroundings, with all ecological assessment indicators consistently achieving excellence. This remarkable achievement has not only elevated the quality of life for our residents but has also driven high-quality economic development, firmly establishing Chengmai's identity as a model green county.

In-depth efforts made to prevent and control pollution by strengthening the ecological foundation

We steadfastly uphold the belief that our ecological environment can and must continuously improve. To realize this vision, we are resolutely combatting pollution, shifting our focus from addressing immediate crises to implementing comprehensive systematic management. As a result, the remarkable transformation of Chengmai's landscape is evident, extending from our picturesque villages to the banks of the Nandu River. Our commitment to this endeavor has made Chengmai's breathtaking scenery a sight to behold at every turn.

Under the banner of "the bluer skies, lusher mountains, and clearer waters," our community has experienced a profound sense of accomplishment and happiness. This concerted effort towards a cleaner and greener environment has enriched the lives of our residents, instilling a deeper sense of well-being and contentment.

We have taken significant strides in the meticulous management of air quality. To this end, we have implemented a comprehensive "1661" system for air pollution prevention and control, encompassing a single overarching yearly goal, six interconnected mechanisms, six tailored strategies spanning various sectors, and a pivotal task list for the year. This systematic approach has yielded remarkable results in our efforts to combat air pollution.

In 2022, the urban environmental air quality in Chengmai achieved an impressive excellence rate of 97.8%. Notably, the levels of PM10 and PM2.5 pollutants reached unprecedented historical lows since the inception of our air quality monitoring initiatives.

We have meticulously devised a comprehensive plan addressing the management of the "three waters" - encompassing water sources, water ecology, and the environment. Our dedicated efforts have resulted in maintaining excellent water quality in our primary rivers and reservoirs. Notably, surface water monitored at both provincial and national levels achieved a commendable 100% rating for excellent water quality, which also extended to our urban centralized drinking water sources and the waters of the near-shore sea area. Additionally, we have consistently met water quality standards in our urban inland river water, successfully fulfilling our annual objectives in this regard.

In pursuit of our overarching goal to achieve a "long-term clean and harmonious coexistence of man and nature," we have undertaken significant initiatives. This includes the comprehensive deployment of sewage treatment facilities in our organic towns, with a total treatment capacity reaching an impressive 93,800 tons per day. To ensure the purity of our drinking water sources, we have embarked on a scientific delineation and adjustment of drinking water conservation districts, resulting in the establishment of four projects aimed at standardizing town-level drinking water conservation districts.

Furthermore, we have taken action to rectify 253 sewage outfalls and have successfully completed the environmental assessment registration and filing procedures for 15 seawater aquaculture farms, including the issuance of certificates for those complying with planned aquaculture standards. Today, the sight of plants actively purifying river and lake waters swaying in the breeze has become a common occurrence. As villagers leisurely stroll along the clean and picturesque embankments, birds thrive in the lush green surroundings. These scenes serve as tangible evidence of our significant progress in rectifying the "three waters," bringing us closer to our goal of long-term environmental harmony.

Our dedication to promoting the recycling of agricultural "two wastes" – encompassing waste from farmland or fields and waste from field or processed – has remained unwavering. We have intensified our efforts in addressing 29 rural black and malodorous water bodies, effectively mitigating prominent ecological environmental issues that directly impact the lives of our residents. This concerted action has significantly enhanced the quality of the rural living environment.

Chengmai County has received accolades for its exemplary performance in pollution prevention and control. We have earned an "excellent" rating in the provincial pollution prevention and control assessment for two consecutive years. Furthermore, we have been recognized as an "outstanding performance group" in the national survey of soil pollution in key industry enterprises. These achievements underscore our continued commitment to safeguarding our precious environment.

We have diligently advanced the rectification of environmental supervision challenges and fortified their impact. Demonstrating unwavering resolve, we fearlessly tackled complex issues, resolutely carrying out territorial supervision responsibilities for ecological restoration projects such as the Haikou landfill and the Huachangwan mangrove restoration initiative. Our dedication to addressing environmental concerns extended to the Yingbin Peninsula Sea Nanning Xiangshi Industry Co., LTD. Binle Bay project's illegal reclamation, which was also recognized as a positive model and included in the central environmental protection inspection office's portfolio. Our efforts in this regard were prominently featured in the provincial rectification office's "inspection and rectification to see the effect" series, underscoring our commitment to achieving tangible results.

After cleaning-up, Chengmai old city river now presents a rejuvenated appearance with crystal-clear waters.

The path of transformation and upgrading leads to high-quality, green ecological development.

We consistently adhere to the principles of the new development philosophy. We commence by striking a harmonious balance between development and protection, expediting the emergence of eco-friendly and low-carbon modes of production and living. We foster innovation in the creation of diverse and engaging integrated products and services that combine "ecological and environmental preservation" with agricultural tourism and cultural experiences. This initiative guides our community to firsthand encounters with the wonders of nature and deepens their appreciation for the seamless harmony between human society and the natural world, all within the context of high-quality economic and social development.

We have accelerated the green and low-carbon transformation of our industries, with a particular focus on the "ecological" transformation of agriculture. This commitment has led to a steady improvement in our supply capacity for green and high-quality agricultural products. As a result, the planting area dedicated to "6+2" characteristic agricultural products has expanded to cover 175,900 acres, with a total output value of 1.1 billion yuan. We have proudly earned 15 valid certifications for agricultural products, denoting them as "green food," "organic food," and "geographical indications of agricultural products." Furthermore, our seedless lychee and Chengmai Fu orange have secured dual geographical indications, including the Special Geographical Indications and the Name of Geographical Indications. We are also in the process of applying for the registration of "National Famous and excellent new agricultural products" for our seedless lychee and Qiaotou sweet potato, poised for a "zero breakthrough" in provincial registration.

In our dedication to the "ecological" transformation of the industry, we have taken the pioneering step of establishing a thriving blockchain industry within the province. The approval to establish the Hainan Free Trade Zone (Hong Kong) blockchain pilot zone has attracted over 120 research institutions and prominent blockchain enterprises, such as the Oxford Hainan Blockchain Research Institute, Baidu Duchain, and Hainan Zhongke Computing Blockchain Innovation Research Institute, which have all settled in the park.

Recognizing the strategic significance of expanding and fortifying the digital economy industry to seize opportunities arising from technological revolution and industrial transformation, we have emphasized the imperative of deep integration between digital technology and the real economy to promote green development. Consequently, the digital economy has emerged as the foremost emerging industry in Chengmai, generating revenue exceeding 100 billion and tax revenue surpassing 10 billion yuan. This remarkable growth has led to a total of 139 high-tech enterprises operating within the county, ranking us third in Hainan province.

The structure of our low-carbon manufacturing industry continues to evolve, with the provincial government's approval of our agricultural and sideline food processing industry cluster plan (with a scale of ten billion) as a notable milestone.

Furthermore, our commitment to the "ecological" transformation of the tourism industry has borne fruit. Leveraging the rich cultural tapestry of longevity, coffee, ancient villages, and selenium characteristics, we have vigorously developed distinctive leisure and low-carbon tourism offerings. This has resulted in the establishment of three characteristic industrial towns, 11 provincial and county-level shared farms, 11 provincial-level modern agricultural industrial parks, 19 coconut-level rural tourism destinations, and the prestigious title of "China's Most Beautiful Leisure Resort."

We have fervently championed a green lifestyle, implementing various initiatives to promote eco-friendly choices and sustainable practices. Notable efforts include organizing a substitutes matchmaking meeting for prohibited plastic, facilitating direct face-to-face interactions between substitute production enterprises and commercial market managers. This proactive approach has effectively addressed supply docking issues and encouraged the use of alternatives to banned plastic products.

In addition, we've introduced incentives and subsidies for new energy vehicles, resulting in the adoption of 535 such vehicles in the first half of 2023. We've also promoted 94 prefabricated building projects, covering an expansive total construction area of approximately 5.4863 million square meters.

In education, we have taken the lead in Hainan province by incorporating environmental protection courses into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, we've established several ecological science popularization education bases and demonstration education centers, often hosting public welfare and propaganda events.

Utilizing low-carbon demonstration areas, ecological agricultural production bases, wetland parks, and ecological villages as conduits, we've created a platform for ecological and cultural exchange. These endeavors have fostered a positive public sentiment, encouraging widespread participation in our collective efforts to nurture a sustainable environment.

In Chengmai, a substitutes matchmaking meeting for prohibited plastics was conducted to address supply docking challenges effectively.

We have enhanced the stability and resilience of our ecological space by implementing measures that address both the symptoms and underlying causes of environmental challenges.

We are committed to a comprehensive and systematic approach to the conservation and management of our mountains, waters, forests, farmlands, grasslands, and deserts. Our strategy involves addressing the interplay between immediate governance needs and long-term management and protection efforts. This approach aims to foster coordination between local and global contexts and bridge the gap between surface issues and their underlying causes.

Our overarching goal is to achieve a harmonious synergy where ecological sustainability, societal benefits, and industrial development intersect. This approach will expand the future ecological landscape of Chengmai's mountains and rivers, securing a balanced and sustainable future.

We are intensifying our efforts to strengthen goal alignment and are steadfast in our commitment to prevent and control environmental issues at their source. A significant step forward has been the rigorous enforcement of the "Three lines and One list" policy, which delineates critical parameters for ecological conservation, benchmarks for environmental quality, limitations on resource utilization, and access restrictions for environmental projects.

Adhering to these stringent criteria, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of 30 projects, ultimately rejecting two that failed to meet the stipulated access conditions. Furthermore, we are rigorously enforcing supervision measures following pollutant discharge permits. We are also conducting specialized inspections of environmental protection procedures for construction projects and placing particular emphasis on scrutinizing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes for 86 public engineering projects within the county, ensuring the full implementation of the "Three simultaneous" principle.

We are dedicated to fostering collaboration among government departments to enhance and rejuvenate our ecological environment. Chengmai has taken a pioneering role in the province by implementing the "forest chief + grid member" woodland management and operation mechanism, a model fully endorsed by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and subsequently adopted nationwide. In 2022, we achieved a significant reduction of 88.6% in the number of land polygons and an impressive 93.7% decrease in land area affected.

Our efforts to surpass annual targets for land greening and ecological restoration have placed Chengmai at the forefront of the province, particularly in initiatives such as land greening and camellia oil planting. Notably, we have provided an ideal nesting environment for bee-eaters (Meropidae), a second-class national protected animal. Remarkably, over 500 bee-eaters have taken residence in the remaining ponds within Garden Bay, triggering a thriving tourism phenomenon among bird photography and bird-watching enthusiasts.

We have intensified the alignment of rewards and penalties to refine the philosophy underlying the transformation of the "two mountains" – a concept that envisions converting clear waters and green mountains into valuable natural assets through ecological agriculture, ecological industry, and ecological tourism. In recognition of our dedication, we achieved an "excellent" rating for our efforts in 2022.

Our active engagement in horizontal ecological protection compensation, both upstream and downstream of the basin, has been pivotal to this success. We've also established compensation agreements with cities and counties like Haikou, Tunchang, Lingao, Qiongzhong, and others. These agreements serve as catalysts for the implementation of ecological protection compensation policies within the basin, ultimately fostering the sustainable economic and social development of the region.

The transformation of ponds into mangrove wetlands in Huachang Wan has successfully attracted the nesting of the nationally protected second-class animal, bee-eaters (Meropidae). Photo by HNTVYao Wei

Leading with a focus on green initiatives provides an effective response to the challenges of "dual carbon" work.

We are determined to expedite the transformation and modernization of traditional industries while nurturing new sources of green development. To achieve this, we will commence by fostering a collaborative relationship between a vibrant market and an enabling government. This entails heightening the awareness of enterprises regarding green and low-carbon development and promoting the collective effectiveness of pollution control measures.

Simultaneously, we will bolster our oversight of industrial progress by setting clear objectives for energy conservation, environmental protection, and project outcomes. We will actively guide key energy-intensive industries and enterprises in upgrading their traditional processes and technologies.

Furthermore, we are committed to supporting and incentivizing industrial transformation and upgrading. In accordance with the law, we will systematically and gradually eliminate outdated production capacity, creating room for the expansion of green and low-carbon industries. This holistic approach will pave the way for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly industrial landscape.

We are dedicated to constructing a low-carbon industry that aligns with the future. To accomplish this, we will bring in leading enterprises within the new energy and new materials industrial chain, thereby making significant strides in establishing, fortifying, streamlining, and expanding these vital industrial networks. This approach will facilitate the transformation and modernization of our industries.

We are also committed to expediting the development of a contemporary low-carbon logistics industry cluster. We aim to address the challenge of reconstructing shore power facilities, particularly at docks, by enhancing the service quality of Macun port. This endeavor will pave the way for the green upgrade and transformation of our port-related industries, aligning them with sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.

We are committed to promoting the use of safe, efficient, and clean energy sources as a cornerstone of our sustainable development strategy. Our proactive efforts in accelerating the industrialization of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) in Fushan Oilfield have yielded significant results, with the storage of 213,100 tons of carbon dioxide and an increase of 25,000 tons of oil production. This initiative is expected to be a cost-effective and highly efficient pathway towards achieving the "dual carbon" goals and supporting Hainan province in its pursuit of carbon neutrality.

Furthermore, we have released the "Development Pilot Implementation Plan for Distributed Photovoltaic Systems on County-Wide Roofs." This program has achieved remarkable results, with a cumulative grid-connected capacity of 21,379.72 kW as of the first half of 2023. We are actively promoting the Tangbei photovoltaic eco-village project and actively planning the implementation of the "Xinze Chengmai 100MW agricultural and light complementary photovoltaic project." These initiatives represent our commitment to exploring innovative approaches to industrial development that harmonize ecological, economic, and social benefits, paving the way for a sustainable future.

Centered around providing services to Magan village, we are actively driving the green-oriented transition within the Lin-gang industry.

We prioritize the well-being of our people and ensure that the benefits of green development are shared with all.

We wholeheartedly embrace the belief that "a healthy ecological environment is essential for the well-being of people." Our guiding principles are centered on how ecology benefits people, how it facilitates their lives, and how it works for their betterment. We place a strong emphasis on addressing the most pressing ecological and environmental challenges to offer an abundance of high-quality ecological products.

The vision of people enjoying verdant views from their windows, living alongside pristine waters, and strolling in surroundings reminiscent of a park is steadily becoming a reality, promising a brighter and more sustainable future for all.

We are committed to enhancing the rural landscape in line with local conditions. Our central focus is "beauty," and we prioritize optimizing infrastructure and promoting environmental quality to uplift the rural living environment. At the same time, we will integrate holistic solutions for ecological and environmental challenges with the aspirations of our community for a beautiful natural environment. This approach aims to not only meet the people's desires for an appealing ecological setting but also harness the market value of ecosystem benefits, ultimately driving industrial development in the ecological sector. The villages of Luoyi, Dafeng, and Houchen have been successively designated as key national rural tourism destinations, while Yangdao Village has been recognized as a beautiful leisure countryside in China. Xinxing Miao Village has received the title of a distinctive ethnic minority village in China. In 2022, Chengmai was successfully included in the list of sample counties for the national rural development assessment.

We are actively promoting the transformation and upgrading of the fisheries sector, taking into account our local conditions. Our focus is on the continued conversion of ponds into forests and wetlands, and to this end, we have issued a "Three-Year Work Plan for the High-Quality Development of Fisheries in Chengmai County (2023-2025)." This plan serves as a strategic guide to encourage a scientific shift in industries and employment.

On one hand, to facilitate this transition, we have cultivated over 1,300 acres of Qiaotou sweet potatoes, thereby achieving progress in both industrial and employment transitions. On the other hand, we are exploring a development model that combines deep-sea cage aquaculture with recreational fishing. This approach has resulted in the establishment of 250 deep-water aquaculture cages, with a total production of approximately 7,115 tons and a total output value of 210 million yuan.

Furthermore, to advance the development of the Ma Niao Bay marine pasture, we have introduced marine sightseeing and fishing activities. Our primary focus is on creating a nationally recognized marine pasture demonstration area distinguished by its exceptional ecological functions and far-reaching impact.

Luoyi Village, Dafeng Village, and Houchen Village have all been designated as key rural tourism destinations in China. The accompanying image depicts an aerial view of Luoyi Village. Photo by Wang Jiazhuan

We will enhance policy support to refine the development of the ecological civilization system and mechanism.

We are committed to providing robust support for the advancement of ecological civilization construction. To establish and enhance the ecological civilization mechanism, we have introduced a comprehensive framework, including a Work Plan for the Responsibility System of Ecological Civilization Construction during the Term of Leading Cadres in Chengmai County, outlining the responsibilities of Party committees, governments, and relevant departments at all levels for ecological and environmental protection. This framework fosters a collaborative approach to ecological construction and environmental protection, with guidance from the Party committee, government accountability, interdepartmental cooperation, and coordinated actions at all levels.

For example, the revitalization of the old downtown river, which was previously classified as Class V, has undergone significant improvements through the implementation of a river and lake management system. Projects such as rainwater and sewage diversion, as well as the installation of intercepting and receiving pipes, have led to substantial enhancements in water quality, stabilizing it at Class III-IV.

We steadfastly adhere to the principles of "randomly selecting inspection targets during regulatory processes, employing random selection of law enforcement inspectors, and promptly disclosing inspection results to the public." In 2022, a total of 89 pollution discharge organizations underwent random inspections, resulting in 38 being registered and penalized, with a cumulative fine of 6.68 million yuan. Furthermore, we have fortified our monitoring and response efforts, employing 24/7 real-time data monitoring of 23 key pollution source enterprises within our jurisdiction. This year alone, we have initiated 23 rapid response actions.

As we reflect on our past achievements and set our sights on the future, we recognize that Hainan's greatest strengths and opportunities lie in its lush green mountains, clear rivers, and the expansive blue sea and sky. Chengmai remains steadfast in its commitment to President Xi Jinping's call that "the ecosystem is pivotal for Hainan, and we must pay attention." Therefore, we are fully dedicated to advancing ecosystem construction.

Our goal is to position Hainan as a prominent showcase for the practical implementation of Xi Jinping's thoughts on ecological civilization. Chengmai will continue to play an active role in contributing to the establishment of the national pilot zone for ecological conservation.

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