The Environmental Protection Iron Army is Taking Action in Shaoguan

In the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, all the personnel in the environmental protection units of Shaoguan City shouldered the responsibility of fighting against the epidemic and safeguarding the front line of ecological and environmental protection. Shaoguan City was selected by the State Council as one of the model cities in improving the quality of the city’s ecological environment in 2019, with the result being published on the website of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment from March 23 to 29,2020. Shaoguan is one of the nine cities that have been awarded this honor in the country, having its exclusiveness in Guangdong Province.

一、Environmental Conditions

(一)Atmospheric Environment

In the first quarter of 2020, the compliance rate to be excellent of Shaoguan's ambient air quality index (AQI) was 100%, seeing no pollution weather. The average concentration of PM2.5 in urban areas is 25 micro grams per cubic meter, a 19.4% decrease compared with the same period of last year. The percentile concentration of O₃-8h-90per is 95 micro grams per cubic meter, a 1.0% decrease compared with the same period of last year, with its comprehensive index ranked 12th among the 21 prefecture-level cities in the province.

(二)Environmental Quality of Surface Water

In the first quarter of 2020, Shaoguan City's 13 surface water assessment sections which were included in the provincial assessment system all met the water quality standards. The water quality of the 9 county-level centralized drinking water sources was up to the quality control standard.The urban area is free of black and odorous water body.

二、Main Measures

(一)Active participation in joint prevention and control of the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic in communities

Since January 29,2020, according to the instructions of Shaoguan Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government, the Ecology and Environment Bureau has organized and mobilized party members to serve in communities for the prevention of the epidemic.In the first quarter of 2020, the Ecology and Environment Bureau has sent 1495 volunteers to carry out 645 community service activities. The party member commandos has assisted in checking 7934 vehicles at various epidemic prevention and control checkpoints, including 2277 vehicles from other cities and 21 vehicles carrying live poultry; carrying out body temperature check for 22245 people, giving out 348 copies of leaflets of coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention. Party members are committed to serving in communities as jack-of-all-trades to help fight the battle against epidemic prevention and control.

(二)Promoting the Protection of Ecological Environment

In order to carry out the CPC Central Committee and the State Council’s arrangements on the prevention and control of the epidemic, Shaoguan City pays even closer attention to the protection of environment during the period of the prevention and control of the epidemic. The city government actively carried out the monitoring of medical institutions, medical waste disposal institutions and sewage treatment works in the city. In the first quarter of 2020, 807 law-enforcement personnel were dispatched to inspect 168 medical institutions, 68 medical waste disposal institutions and 64 sewage treatment works. Shaoguan City will continue to strengthen the protection of ecological environment, improving the living environment for its citizens.

New rules and actions to keep skies blue. On February 25th and March 18th, we worked together with environmental experts from Department of Ecology and Environment of Guangdong Province to finalize the implementation plan for air pollution prevention and control in Shaoguan. On March 27th, the Work Plan of Winning the Fight for Blue Skies 2020 was issued. Meanwhile, We are actively promoting the renovation of enterprises which have pollution risks in gas emissions, and strengthening the supervision and rectification of enterprises that deal with volatile organic compounds or with boilers for production.

Efforts have been put to reduce water pollution and improve water quality. On March 28th, the "Water Pollution Prevention and Control Implementation Plan 2020" was issued, signaling the beginning of a stricter control on water pollution. Special teams have been set up to inspect the work on water pollution control in every district and county. We also strengthened the protection of water quality in 10 centralized drinking water sources and the monitoring of water quality of rivers in the city. Regular check and warning have been carried out to eliminate black and odorous water body in urban areas. Domestic sewage that used to run into rivers directly has been effectively controlled and reduced, with rectification work on illegal sewage draining exits being pushed forward to protect the water quality of rivers. A regular action called "Looking Back" is well implemented to make sure all the work regarding water quality protection has been properly done.

Promoting the prevention and control of soil pollution. We are vigorously promoting the construction of a pilot area on the prevention and control of soil pollution, and actively cooperating with the State's environmental protection administration to carry out the data reporting work in the pilot area. Shaoguan City focused on the management and disposal of medical waste during the epidemic period, issued the "Emergency Plan on the Disposal of Medical Waste during the Covid-19 Epidemic” and the “Instruction on the Disposal of Masks in Communities with Covid-19 Infected Cases”. The Ecology and Environment Bureau worked closely with  Health Department and Housing Management Department to carry out the disposal of used masks in 4 infected communities and established a joint management mechanism on the disposal of used masks. We are actively boosting the capacity for solid waste disposal and accelerating the investigation and rectification of heavy metal pollution that involves cadmium and other heavy metals.

(三)Strengthening Supervision and Management, Providing Strong Support for Enterprises to Resume Production

To ensure the operation of enterprises, Shaoguan City continues to follow up the operation of regional medical waste disposal facilities and the safety & protection of staff in various industries. On January 27, the Bureau of Ecology and Environment reported the local enterprises’ shortage of protective gears to the Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment and the Shaoguan Municipal People's Government, working together to collect protective materials for enterprises and donated 2000 masks ,10 bags of disinfectant powder and 10 bottles of disinfectant to enterprises to help them solve the problem of the shortage of protective gears.

In order to further promote the protection of the ecological environment, Shaoguan Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment issued the document "Measures to Support Enterprises to Resume Production During the Period of Prevention and Control of the Covid-19," in which eight measures were taken to support enterprises to resume production, such as chief officer’s Proactive Service to enterprises, civil affairs online approval service, supporting measures on emergent assessment of environmental impact, Green Channel to speed up civil affairs approval process, optimizing the fault-tolerant and error-correcting mechanism on environmental violations, supporting enterprises to better cope with pollution prevention. In the first quarter of 2020, 1358 staff members were dispatched to support 538 enterprises to resume production. A mobile law enforcement system has been put into use to carry out environmental supervision, with 183 law enforcement personnel were dispatched and 69 enterprises were inspected. The Bureau of Ecology and Environment accepted 606 cases of complaints on various environmental protection issues from the public, increased by 59.89% over the same period last year, with a 100% of the accepted cases was closed as scheduled.

The Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment will further enhance the ability of emergency response, optimize the ecological environment management mechanism for epidemic prevention and control, provide technical support to win the battles against epidemic in the fields of ecological environment protection, and be a "guardian" of the ecological environment during the period of epidemic prevention and control.