DONGGUAN, November 29, China Daily -- Dongguan has been elevating green development to a top priority, transferring its image from a world manufacturing base to an eco-friendly city.
Green development is the third of the Five Major Development Concepts put forward by President Xi Jinping, who has stressed that environmental protection cannot be sacrificed on the altar of economic growth.
Dongguan, located in the southeast of Guangdong province, was once known as the world's factory, creating the adage “Jam in Dongguan, Shortage in the World”.
Now, Dongguan recognizes the value of green development, and believes that environmental protection can promote industrial
Lotuses bloom luxuriously on Huayang Lake, Machong town, Dongguan. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
As of the end of 2015, Dongguan has raised its forest coverage to 37.4 percent and urban greening rate to 44.71 percent. The city also has 19 forest parks, 14 wetland parks, six nature reserves, 1,223 parks and a 956-kilometer green way.
The city has earned the title of a National Forest City, as evaluated by the State Forestry Administration last November, becoming the third city in the Pearl River Delta to own this honor.
The government has also formulated tougher environmental protection laws and displayed a greater amount of determination to enforce them.
Dongguan government has shut down more than 800 polluting workshops and restricted heavy-polluted industries such as printing, tanning and papermaking. Penalties levied for pollution amounted to 128.48 million yuan in 2015 alone.
Dongguan government has developed an "eco-compensation" framework and has input a fiscal expenditure of two billion yuan to shut down 53 papermaking factories and 35 other heavily polluting companies.
In addition to urban greening, Dongguan has paid great attention to rural reform and developed new paths to boost rural development, including setting up village-level pollution control plants, water town development zones, an integration of Lingnan watery village civilization and modern urban civilization.
In 2015, the city's GDP registered 627.5 billion yuan ($90.71 billion), up eight percent compared to the same period of last year. Its total foreign trade value came at 167.67 billion yuan, ranking fifth among all cities in China.
At the same time, the city has been shifting its image into a green center of ecology-friendly agriculture, industry and tourism.