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Ecuadorian expert lauds China's anti-pollution efforts

2015-03-08 17:18 Xinhua Web Editor: Wang Fan

The Chinese government has sent a positive signal to the world that the country is getting tough in its fight against pollution, a senior Ecuadorian environment expert said here on Saturday.[Special coverage]

"China's determination and endeavor to conquer pollution is a good sign not only for China, but for the world as a whole," Mauricio Avila, an environmental scientist told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"I am optimistic that the Chinese people will figure out ways and give the world a surprise in dealing with this challenge," said the expert.

Avila, who was a professor with the Environment Department of Ecuador's Central University and an independent consultant, now works for the oil company Andes Petroleum Ecuador as the manager for health and safety.

"The commitments made by top leaders at China's annual sessions of the top legislature and political advisory body are fundamental to the management of environmental problems. We are full of confidence that the Chinese people are able to handle pollution with due efforts," he added.

The Chinese government announced this week that it will fight resolutely against pollution, including emissions of PM10 and PM2.5, two key air pollutants.

According to a 2015-2020 action plan released Friday jointly by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Finance Ministry, China will slash coal consumption by 160 million tons in the next five years to reduce air pollution. Relative measures will involve eliminating outdated production capacity and using clean energy such as hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar energy.

On Friday, President Xi Jinping asked Chinese people to protect the environment like "caring for one's own eyes and life."

"We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions," said Xi while reviewing the work report of the State Council together with National People's Congress (NPC) deputies.

In his annual report at the NPC, Premier Li Keqiang compared pollution to "a blight on people's quality of life" and promised that China will cut emission of carbon dioxide by at least 3.1 percent this year.

Avila said he was impressed by China's vitality and rapid economic development when he visited Beijing five years ago, adding that China has all the tools to achieve the objective, since "it has very organized, hard-working people."

"It is necessary to seek cleaner energy alternatives even though it is complicated and difficult," he said, noting that "it can be wind, solar or hydropower. What we need to do is to explore all those possibilities."

The expert stressed that today's society can not live without hydrocarbons like fossil fuels, but "a conscious handling with good environmental practices and with high standards of environmental protection" is key to reducing pollution.

Furthermore, Avila said proper fiscal and financial policies can help inject more funds into environment protection.

"It's important to make tax credits, tariff rebates and safeguards available as an incentive to promote cost-effective clean energy," he said.

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