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Legislations and Agencies for Environment Protection in Tibet

Traditionally, Tibetans hold their mountains and rivers holy and stress their adaptation to them.This is a very favourable condition for environmental protection. However, credit is largely due to the work of the government for the remarkable achievement Tibet has made in environmental protection.

First, the Legislations. Based on relevant State laws and decrees, the Tibetan People's Congress and government have, in line with local specific conditions, formulated more than 20 local decrees and regulations for the protection or administration of forests, wild animals, grasslands, water resources, mining, urban construction and charges on pollution, etc. With the implementation of the ''Regulations on Assessment of Impact of Building Projects in Tibetan Autonomous Region on the Environment'' assessment has been made of all the building projects in the last decade that have impact on environment. Meanwhile, all new and renovated projects are required to have their pollution- treating installations designed, built and put into operation simultaneously with the main part of the project. When the Lhasa tannery was rebuilt and enlarged with aid from German government, treatment of polluted water formed an important component of the project. In 1992, the standing committee of the People's Congress of the Autonomous Region adapted the "Regulations on the Administration of Environmental Protection of The Tibetan Au- tonomous Region"; in 1993, the government of the Autonomous Region made decisions to strengthen environmental protection against development. To see to the strict enforcement of these Legislations, the Region's People's Congress Standing Committee and People's Government have jointly set up coordination teams to inspect work in the various parts of the Region, stop illegal acts, raise the awareness of the public on environmental protection and enhance the supervisory role of the masses over it.

Second, publicity drives. Publicity drives of various forms are conducted such as regular bulletins, seminars, speech-making in the streets, special programmes and columns in newspapers, radio and TV broadcasts. Chairman of the Autonomous Region Government even made a TV speech on World Environment Day.At a township of Bagen County in a grassland of north Tibet, in early 80s, the local hunters, under instructions from the township, killed the three leopards that used to harass the domestic animals of the inhabitants. Little did the people expect that with their natural enemy eliminated, the jackals multiplied fast. They took away about 300 cattle and sheep annually, which meant a heavier loss for the herdsmen. Then they planned to wipe out the jackals. However, experts came to teach them the ABC of biological chain, urging prudence in jackal hunting. For without them as cleaners of the rotting carcases, epidemic may spread among the livestock. The herdsmen were only too glad to learn this.

Investigations of the basics in environment constitute the groundwork of environmental protection. In recent years scientific investigations have been completed in Tibet on industrial pollution, soil, natural radioactivity, organic chlorine in grain, etc. Coupled with investigations on natural resources, they form the scientific basis and technical reference for the work of environmental protection in Tibet.

More agencies, better technical personnel and increased investment are playing an important role in promoting environmental protection. Environmental protection became regular work with the establishment of a leading group of environmental protection of the Tibetan Autonomous Region in 1975. Established in 1990, the Environmental Protection Commission of the Tibetan Autonomous Region unifies leadership over the work of environment protection of the whole Region. Now, with environmental protection bureaus set up at both the Region and prefectural levels, there are altogether 12 agencies exclusively for environmental protection and a good number of administrative and technical personnel have been trained, too. Investment in pollution treatment has increased enormously; for instance, 3 million yuan has been allocated for the removal of industrial smoke from Lhasa.

In 1990, the first modern environmental monitoring station was built in Lhasa, with seven monitoring points around the outskirts of the city, all equipped with most up-to-date meters and instruments. The environmental monitoring station in Xigaze, the second largest city in Tibet, was completed and started operation in 1993. The monitoring station in Qamdo of east Tibet is under construction. A monitoring network over whole Tibet is taking shape.

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