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Inner Mongolia advances sustainable development

2022-08-23 (chinadaily.com.cn)

The Inner Mongolia autonomous region has experienced robust economic development and seen increasing forest and vegetation coverage in the past decade in keeping with a green development philosophy, said Sun Shaocheng, the region's Party secretary.

The region has made "historic achievements" since 2012, Sun said at a news conference in Hohhot, the regional capital, on Monday.

Its gross domestic product has doubled and per capita GDP rose from 42,000 yuan ($6,140) to 85,000 yuan during the past 10 years. The region has maintained sound momentum in terms of economic growth, ethnic unity, social stability and border security, Sun said.

With roughly 8 million hectares of trees and 19 million hectares of grass planted in the past decade, the region's forest coverage rate and grassland coverage increased by 4.7 and 2.2 percentage points respectively, he added.

Following a steady decline in the region's desert areas, sandstorms take place on average about half a day per year, compared with an average of nearly five days annually a decade ago, Sun added.

"In the past decade, we have also energetically developed a modern energy economy," Sun said.

The total power generation capacity in the region has reached 156 million kilowatts, with over one-third coming from new energy production, he said, adding that Inner Mongolia now ranks No 1 in the nation in new energy generation.

Wang Lixia, the region's chairwoman, said Inner Mongolia's environmental protection efforts in the past decade have brought sweeping, historic and transformative changes as the region strives to implement the philosophy that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.

The philosophy is one of the key points of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping for balanced and sustainable development that features harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature.

By banning the felling of trees in the Greater Khingan Mountains and stopping the introduction of new mining projects in its grasslands, the region has made great efforts to allow these valuable ecological resources to restore themselves, she said.

To date, more than half of the region has been encircled by red lines, which are often used in China to describe areas that are mainly for ecological conservation, she added.

She also noted increasingly greener GDP growth and significant improvement in environmental quality in the region in the past decade.

Thanks to its consistent effort to avoid seeking economic growth at the cost of sacrificing the environment, the region saw energy and water consumption per unit of GDP drop by 4.1 percent and 40.7 percent respectively during the decade, she said.

The accumulative time of fairly good air quality in the region in 2021 rose by 3.7 percentage points from the 2015 level, she added.