Specialized wetland law clears water

Updated: Jun 1, 2022 By LI HONGYANG China Daily Print
Share - WeChat

Division of management clarified, punishment for damage increased

China's first specialized law on wetland protection will take effect on Wednesday, and makes the division of management clear and punishment for damaging behavior more severe, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said.

The law restricts construction projects in important national wetlands and bans all harmful behaviors, including overgrazing, overharvesting, the discharge of wastewater and land reclamation.

Human activities, such as tourism, planting, animal husbandry, aquaculture and shipping, in wetlands must also be undertaken with care to minimize adverse impact.

Bao Daming, deputy head of the administration's wetland department, elaborated on the law at a news conference on Friday.

"The value of wetland resources is being taken into account when deciding on punishments and the standards are more severe than before," he said.

For example, anyone who damages important national-level wetlands by enclosing them for cultivation or for land reclamation will be fined up to 10,000 yuan ($1,490) per square meter and required to restore the damaged area within a fixed period of time.

Wetlands will be classified into national, provincial and normal levels of importance. "The law will improve the wetland management system by clarifying the responsibilities of authorities," Bao said.

He said that wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems in the world. Sometimes referred to as the "kidneys of the earth" and as "species gene pools", wetlands conserve and clean water, maintain biodiversity, and help contain floods and prevent drought.

As described in the law, a wetland refers to a natural or artificial area with stagnant water either year-round or seasonally, with significant ecological functions.

Wetlands also include coastal areas with a water depth of no more than six meters at low tide, but exclude paddy fields and expanses of water used for aquaculture and artificial breeding.

The administration said that after years of effort, public awareness of wetland protection has increased, and the protection and restoration of wetlands have continued to improve.

Today, the national wetland protection rate exceeds 50 percent, up from 43.5 percent in 2015 and China has designated 64 wetlands of international importance, 29 wetlands of national importance and set up more than 600 wetland nature reserves and about 1,600 wetland parks.

"However, with the rapid development of society and the economy, protection and utilization cannot be balanced, and so the occupation, reclamation and pollution of wetlands has occurred, which is why legislation on protection is urgently needed," the administration said.

Bao said: "The issuing of this law is an important step toward improving China's ecological system, as all important ecosystems including forests, grasslands, deserts and wetlands now have specialized laws."

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安 京公网安备 11010502032503号