China tightens environmental supervision in Qilian Mountains

Updated 2017-07-21 16:42:29 Xinhua

Zhang Xuelong, a researcher at an observation center in the Qilian Mountains, removed an underground measuring pipe and marked down the number.

"The depth of the seasonally frozen ground has decreased by 27 centimeters in the past 16 years," he said.

The recession of frozen soil indicates the impacts of global warming - a climate change phenomenon caused by human activity and industrial development, which is affecting the Qilian Mountains hinterland, in northwestern China.

Photos taken by Xinhua reporters recorded the striking recession of glaciers. Scientific data backed up what can be seen the pictures. Over the past 50 years, the Qilian Mountains have lost 509 glaciers.

The once endless prairie, wetlands and flowing rivers have become parched land and dry riverbeds after decades of over-exploitation.


The Qilian Mountains stand on the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces. The nature reserve was designated a national protected site in 1988, but hundreds of mines in the area, and many kinds of construction projects, have continued to take a toll on the environment.

The Qilian Mountains basin contains over 150 hydropower stations, 42 of which are located within the reserve, leading to severe disruption of the local ecosystem. Many of the projects have violated regulations in the processes of gaining approval and construction.

The problems exist far beyond that.

An inspection team from the central government has found various irregularities in the area, including over-exploitation of mineral resources, illegal construction and operation of hydropower facilities, excessive emissions by local enterprises, as well as the failure of local officials to rectify existing environmental issues, according to a document jointly released by the general offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council Thursday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the State Forestry Administration have requested Gansu's forestry department as well as the local government rectify the irregularities, but that work has been slow.

"The violations were fundamentally a result of a lack of environmental awareness by local officials and their failure to implement environmental protection policies," Thursday's document said.

Therefore, in the document, the central government decided that officials, including Yang Zixing, vice governor of Gansu Province, will be held accountable for their failure to prevent and look into the environmental issues. They have also been urged to learn a lesson from the incident.


Scores of coal mines have been shut down over the past weeks after the document was handed to local officials early June.

Xinhua reporters paid a visit to the Qilian Mountains last month and found all mining and tourism development projects had been suspended or closed, and a round-the-clock surveillance system was monitoring the water flow of hydropower projects to protect the lower reaches of rivers.

Bearing the major responsibility for mine exploitation, the provincial department of land and resources said all illegal mining activities within the reserve will be banned, and no new projects will be approved.

The Gansu environmental protection bureau also said they will launch a pilot monitoring network that combines new technologies such as satellite remote-sensing and drones, with enhanced in-situ inspections to implement real-time supervision of local ecological protection.

Cities along the Qilian Mountain belt are also working hard to get rid of outdated, unsustainable development modes, while embracing a greener economic pattern.

"We plan to spend three years returning farmland to forests or grassland and reducing the city's reliance on mining and overgrazing," said Yang Weijun, CPC chief in the city of Zhangye.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58January 17 2019 05:20:06

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16January 17 2019 05:20:06

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18January 17 2019 05:20:06

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords