Chinese lawmakers on Friday voted to pass a new wetland protection law, which will establish the country’s first specialized law on the matter.
The legislature approved the law, which is due to come into force on June 1, 2022, at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Yang Zhaoxia, ecology expert from Beijing Forestry University, said the importance of the new law is that it strengthens the Chinese legal system in the field of ecology where there are some weaknesses.
Governments at all levels should raise public awareness of the protection of wetlands through various campaigns, such as the establishment of a “Wetlands Protection Day” or a “Wetlands Protection Week” as provided by law.
Education authorities and schools are also asked to raise student awareness about the protection of wetlands.
According to the law, the country will exercise the management of wetlands at different levels, and important wetlands should be placed under the red lines of ecological protection.
A national catalog of important wetlands is published by the Forest and Grassland Authorities and other related departments of the State Council for the Better Management of Wetlands. According to the law, protective shields should also be put up.
The law prohibits organizations or individuals from destroying the habitat of birds and aquatic life in wetlands.
Provisions to protect peat swamps and mangrove wetlands are highlighted in the newly passed law.
It is forbidden by law to exploit peat from peat swamp wetlands or their groundwater without a permit.
It is also prohibited to occupy or dig ponds in mangrove wetlands, as well as fell, excavate or transplant mangroves, or overexploit mangrove seeds, among other things.
The law contains provisions to establish a compensation system for environmental protection, which requires more government funding for the protection of vital wetlands.