Outdoor activities such as soccer and camping are common on the big lawn of a park in Taiyuan, capital of North China's Shanxi province.

An increasing number of the city's residents are spending time outdoors thanks to the improved air quality in recent years. However, things were very different a decade ago.

"Due to air pollution, the sky was frequently grey in the past, but there has been significant improvement in recent years," said a local resident surnamed Wang. "We can now breathe clean air, and outdoor sports have become an important part of our lives."

This transformation is a result of the government's continued efforts to save energy and control pollution. The changes are evident in Shanxi, a major coal-producing province.

In recent years, coal companies have taken steps to promote low-carbon development, such as by innovating industrial methods of coal mining and coalbed methane extraction, and by refining coal byproducts.

Yao Shaofeng, head of the Shanxi Provincial Energy Administration, said that by the end of last year, the advanced production capacity of coal mines accounted for 75 percent of the province's total.

The Xinyuan Coal Mine adopted 5G technology in mining and developed an intelligent operation management platform in collaboration with tech giant Huawei.

"In the complicated underground environment, 5G technology has greatly helped improve safety and efficiency," said Wu Shouxin, a technician at the mine.

The green transformation of power plants also exemplifies China's efforts to conserve energy and reduce consumption.

The Gujiao Power Plant in Shanxi abandoned its previous practice of stacking coal ash outdoors and adopted new technology to backfill coal ash into a coal mine pit, thereby eliminating dust pollution.

Over the past decade, China has accelerated the phasing out of outdated production capacity, curbed irrational energy consumption in energy-intensive projects and promoted energy-saving technology and equipment.

Compared with 2012, China's energy consumption fell by 26.4 percent, its carbon emissions by 34.4 percent and its water consumption per unit of GDP by 45 percent last year.