China adopts new law to protect wetlands
Chinese lawmakers voted on Friday to pass a new wetland protection law, establishing the country’s first specialized law on the issue.
Lawmakers approved the law, which will come into force on June 1, 2022, at a session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Yang Zhaoxia, an ecology expert from Peking Forestry University, said the importance of the new law is that it strengthens China’s legal system in the area of ecology, where there were some weaknesses.
Governments at all levels should raise awareness of wetland protection through various campaigns, such as establishing a ‘wetland protection day’ or a ‘wetland protection week’ , according to the law.
Education authorities and schools are also invited to sensitize students to the protection of wetlands.
By law, the country will exercise wetland administration at different levels, and significant wetlands should be placed under the red lines of ecological conservation.
A national catalog of important wetlands will be published by forestry and grassland authorities and other relevant departments of the State Council for better management of wetlands. Protective panels should also be put in place, in accordance with the law.
The law prohibits any organization or individual from destroying bird habitat and aquatic life in wetlands.
The provisions relating to the protection of peatlands and mangrove wetlands are highlighted in the new law adopted.
It is forbidden to exploit peat from peat swamps or to exploit their groundwater without authorization, according to the law.
It is also prohibited to occupy or dig ponds in mangrove wetlands, as well as to fell, excavate or transplant mangroves, or overexploit mangrove seeds, among other activities.
The law includes provisions on establishing a compensation system for ecological conservation, requiring increased government funding to protect vital wetlands.