Shanxi prioritizes ecology amid development efforts
Shanxi province has been integrated into the ecological protection and high-quality development efforts of the Yellow River basin, coordinated reduction of carbon and pollution, greenery expansion and economic growth, and improved the carbon sink capacity of ecosystems in recent years.
The province has promoted the construction of an ecological restoration area in the northern part of the Yellow River basin and an ecological treatment area in the middle of the basin, an ecological reconstruction area in the upper reaches of the Fenhe River, an ecological construction area in the northern section of the Taihang Mountains and an ecological restoration area in the middle section of the Taihang Mountains.
In 2022, Shanxi afforested more than 3,673 square kilometers of land, increased the greenery rate in 19 counties along the Yellow River, protected and restored 24.5 hectares of wetlands, and improved and restored over 386 sq km of grasslands.
The province also treated 3,880 sq km of areas suffering from soil erosion and combated illegal water withdrawal to protect and conserve urban groundwater resources. As a result, the water quality of 87.1 percent of surface water under national examination reached excellent level, and the groundwater level in the three major basins of Taiyuan, Linfen and Yuncheng continued to rise.
Pollution control in key areas and industries, such as coal mines and air pollution, has been strengthened. In 2022, the proportion of days with good air quality increased to 74.5 percent, ranking second in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Shanxi has promoted the natural restoration of grasslands, forests, rivers, lakes and wetlands and greatly expanded the biodiversity of nature reserves in the province. So far, 88 percent of wildlife in the province has been placed under protection, and more than 30 species of plants and 17 species of birds have seen their habitats expand.
In order to protect ecosystems, Shanxi has also created ecological products and established a green and low-carbon circular economy system, turning ecological advantages into economic advantages.
More than 30 forest and grass ecological projects have helped 300,000 people increase their incomes by 613 million yuan ($87.98 million), and poverty alleviation-oriented forestry public-private-partnership projects paid 781 million yuan to farmers.
The province has taken the lead in developing carbon sink projects with the aim of fully unleashing the economic potential of forest resources.