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China emphasizes glacier, frozen soil protection on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in new draft law

Source:Xinhua 2023-04-24


Aerial photo taken on May 1, 2022 shows yaks transporting supplies at the Mount Qomolangma base camp. (Xinhua/Li Jian)

China is considering strengthening the protection of snow-capped mountains, glaciers and frozen soil on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau by specifying special requirements in the latest version of a new draft law, a spokesperson said Friday.

A draft law on ecological conservation on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is scheduled for its third reading in late April, requires establishing and improving the protection system of snow-capped mountains, glaciers and frozen soil on the plateau, said Zang Tiewei, a spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

It also aims to strengthen the monitoring, early warning and systematic protection of these natural resources, he added.

According to Zang, revised provisions of the draft law state that provincial-level governments on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau must establish and promote the implementation of ecological conservation red lines for large ice caps and glaciers, as well as for groups of small glaciers. They should also protect key snow mountains and glaciers by taking strict and effective measures to prevent human interference.

The provincial-level governments are also required to delimit the protection scope of permafrost regions. Major projects involving transportation, pipeline construction and power transmission in these areas should be subject to strict review and approval, according to the draft.

It is necessary to monitor and assess the impact of the melting and degradation of snow-capped mountains, glaciers and frozen soil on the regional ecosystems, and strengthen monitoring and early warning of natural disasters such as avalanches, ice collapses and permafrost melting, said Zang, noting that scientific investigation and research on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau should also be strengthened.

A legislative bill normally goes through three readings before it is put to vote.

The NPC Standing Committee completed two readings of previous versions of the draft law on ecological conservation on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in August and December last year. The third reading will take place at an NPC Standing Committee session between April 24 and 26.

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