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Hunan Province Champions the Green Economy

Writer: Time:2010-03-04
From: http://www.enghunan.gov.cn/

In 2005, Zhou Qiang won the Champions of the Earth nomination of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). As the UN's flagship environmental award, Champions is not a one-year nomination but is a lifelong recognition of the achievements of inspirational leaders, thinkers and, most importantly, 'doers' who have shown determination and enduring commitment towards achieving a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future.

Since receiving the award, Mr. Zhou has taken the commitment of the award seriously. When nominated five years ago, he was Chairman of the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) and was recognized for mobilizing youth and social communities to work on protecting the environment and join in the Mother River Protection Operation.

The ACYF has undertaken 882 afforestation projects and 191,000 hectares have been reforested. In addition 300 million youth have been mobilized to participate in the Mother River Protection Operation, and exchanges and cooperation in the field of environmental protection have grown among young people in more than 50 countries and regions.

After becoming governor of Hunan in 2006, Mr. Zhou dedicated himself to transforming the province into a model of environmental sustainability, calling also for the protection of the Dongting Lake, China's second largest fresh water lake which is rich in biodiversity but has been threatened over the years by 100 million tons of wastewater from over 200 paper manufacturers. Mr. Zhou unveiled a master plan to control the water pollution generated by the paper mills with wastewater treatment plants and closed over 200 seriously-polluting enterprises.

In 2009 Mr. Zhou led a delegation of senior officials from the province to visit Germany's Rhine River to study how they could strengthen the protection and management of the 860-kilometer Xiangjiang River, which is the water drinking source of over 20 million Hunan people. With the aim to create an Oriental Rhine River, Mr. Zhou has spearheaded a total of 1,148 projects of environmental control along the Xiangjiang River basin area which have resulted in the closure of 567 factories and the establishment of 64 sewage treatment plants.

Hunan today boasts sewage treatment facilities not only along the river, but in cities and towns throughout the province. UNEP's Champion of the Earth has also laid special emphasis on the urban afforestation and greening programme and continues to push for 'preserving the green hills and clean rivers and increasing forest cover' for a greener, more liveable and environmentally-friendly Hunan.

Previous winners of the Champion award range from Prime Ministers and Presidents to scientists, NGO leaders and photographers. Last year's winner make for a diverse and inspiring cast list and include one of China's most popular actresses, Zhou Xun, who received her award for her promotion of green living.

Through the six award cycles since its establishment in 2004, the award has recognized 41 outstanding environmental leaders from the business world, civil society and governments are needed to build today's new Green Economy and inspire others across the world to follow in their footsteps.