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Green campaigns refresh China's arbor day

(Xinhua)    07:36, March 13, 2014
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Trees were planted across China on Wednesday, China's Arbor Day.

Lawmakers and political advisors took the opportunity to focus on green issues during the two sessions in Beijing, while local officials introduced policies to help green China.

Beijing is at the vanguard of green innovation with a forest insurance scheme that protects trees in the municipality. Damage to Beijing's trees caused by fire, drought, disease and pests will be compensated by PICC Property and Casualty Company at a maximum rate of of 1,200 yuan per mu.

Citizens of Shenyang in northeast China's Liaoning Province are donating cash to local afforestation programs online. Launched by the Green Carbon Foundation and State Forestry Administration on Tuesday, donors can download certificates with their names and details of how and where their money will be spent.

Ye Shu, deputy director of Shenyang forestry bureau, said online events are a global trend as transporting and accommodating volunteers is expensive and, ironically, adds to the carbon footprint of the activity.

North China's Hebei, one of the most polluted parts of the country, announced plans on Wednesday to plant 1.12 million hectares of forests in four years to try to clean up the province's horrible air. That means the total forested area will rise to 6.57 million hectares by 2020 - coverage of more than 35 percent.

Wang Haiyang, director of the Hebei Provincial Forestry Department, said planting trees improves local air quality, reduces the effect of industrial gases and helps against vehicle exhaust.

According to the Environment Ministry, Hebei is home to as many as seven of the country's 10 most polluted cities. Smog is a persistent problem.

Each cubic meter of forest can absorb 1.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide while generating 1.62 tonnes of oxygen. Wang said that the afforestation program costs less and functions better than industrial emission reduction.

Over a hundred foreign experts from 19 countries gathered to plant a "friendship forest" in central China's Hubei Province on Wednesday. The province organized the activity for 14 years, and over 1,600 foreign experts have planted more than 10,000 trees, said Xie Zeqiong, deputy director of foreign experts affairs in Ezhou, home of the forest.

In Tibet, ecotourism protects the local environment while providing a livelihood for people in agricultural and pastoral areas. Tibet is home to some 220 million mu of forests, the most in China, and over 600 million mu of protected areas,one third of the region. A total of 716 million yuan was added to the income of local people in 2013 thanks to environmental protection.

According to the State Forestry Administration, a total of 66.5 billion trees were planted by the end of 2013 since the Chinese government called on its people to plant three to five trees every year in 1981. About 2.52 billion saplings were planted by volunteers in 2013, said a report released by the National Afforestation Committee Office on Tuesday.

(Editor:GaoYinan、Yao Chun)

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