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[greenyes] China Turns to Circular Economy for Sustained, Balanced Growth

China Turns to Circular Economy for Sustained, Balanced Growth

2005-6-5 4:49:42 <>

China is stepping up legislation to promote a recycling-based economy, which
experts say is essential in changing a growth pattern characterized by high
input and low yield.

A recycling-based economy, which would feature more efficient energy
consumption, lower emissions and higher returns, would ensure the
decade-long fast economic and social development with the lowest possible
costs and least damage to the environment, according to experts from around
the world attending an APEC conference in Yinchuan, capital of northwest
China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

China has been plagued by energy shortages, pollution and other damage to
its environment after rapid economic growth since the 1980s.

"It's time for us to find a more efficient and environment-friendly mode of
economic growth," said Mao Rubai, chairman of the Environment and Resource
Protection Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top
legislature. "We need to build a strong legal framework to boost the
circular economy -- and this has dominated lawmakers' agenda."

According to Mao, China has enacted an environmental protection law as well
as laws on the prevention of air and water pollution and solid waste
pollution to safeguard its environment.

"China was the first country in the world to implement a law promoting clean
production in January 2003," he said. "The law has played a major role in
the reducing the pollution emitted in the course of industrial production."

In February this year, China's top legislature approved a law on renewable
energy, which will go into effect on January 1, 2006.

But Mao said prevailing Chinese laws still lack specific clauses pertaining
to the development of recycling-based economy. "We have to step up the
legislation process."

To that end, experts say China may refer to the experience of the developed
countries, Japan and Germany, for example.

"Both countries made laws to create a recycling-based economy, and were
successful," said Zhang Lijun, vice director of State Environmental
Protection Administration.

Djimi Takato, a Japanese coordinator for APEC's recycling-based economy
project, echoed his agreement.

"We owe a lot to our comprehensive legal framework," said DjimiTakato. "We
have laws promoting the recycling of resources and solid waste as well as
laws that demand grocery stores and shoppers to recycle containers and
packing as much as they can."

Japan's experience will be applicable in China, said Zhang. "We can start
with certain provinces and municipalities, draft laws on
environment-friendly consumption to promote the recycling of all
resources -- packing, building materials and household electric appliances."

If the move proves effective in these localities, China will be ready to
enact a basic law on building a recycling-based economy, said Zhang.

Such a law, said Prof. Xian Chunlin with the Ningxia University, will remove
many obstacles that presently hinder the country's building of a recycling
society, such as shortages of funds and a lack of market stimulation.

He said the development of a recycling-based economy is also inline with the
"scientific concept on development" urged by the central government.

China's energy supply bottleneck has forced a growing number of officials
and economists to double-check the costs, economic and otherwise, of the
booming economy, and inspired them to search for ways to maintain
coordinated and sustainable social and economic development.

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