China adopts new law on wetlands protection
Chinese lawmakers on Friday voted to pass a new law on wetlands protection, establishing the country's first specialized law on the issue.
Lawmakers approved the law, which will take effect on June 1, 2022, at a session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Yang Zhaoxia, an ecology expert with the Beijing Forestry University, said that the significance of the new law is that it strengthens the Chinese legal system in the area of ecology, where there were some weaknesses.
Governments at all levels should raise public awareness of protecting wetlands through various campaigns, such as setting up "wetland protection day" or "wetland protection week," according to the law.
Education authorities and schools are also asked to enhance the awareness of students on the protection of wetlands.
According to the law, the country will exercise the administration of wetlands at different levels, and important wetland areas should be brought under the ecological conservation red lines.
A national catalog of important wetlands will be released by forestry and grassland authorities and other related departments of the State Council for the better management of wetlands. Protection signs should also be set up, according to the law.
The law prohibits any organization or individual from destroying the habitat of birds and aquatic life in wetlands.
Stipulations on the protection of peat swamps and mangrove wetlands are highlighted in the newly adopted law.
It is forbidden to exploit peat from peat swamp wetlands or to exploit their groundwater without authorization, according to the law.
It is also forbidden to occupy or dig ponds in mangrove wetlands, as well as to fell, excavate or transplant mangroves, or to over-exploit mangrove seeds, among other activities.
The law includes provisions on setting up a system of compensation for ecological conservation, requiring enhanced government funding in protecting vital wetlands.