Protecting the fragile ecological environment in Sansha city, Hainan province, will be given priority before economic development, according to the city government.

Zhang Jun, the city's vice-mayor, said a statement released on Tuesday is the first environment protection declaration after the city's establishment in July, which echoed the central government's call to build a “beautiful China”.

Zhang said groundwater exploration will be suspended before 2015 to protect the groundwater on Yongxing Island, and by then the island's water supply will rely on the under construction seawater desalination program.

He said the city will develop solar and marine power plants to reduce pollution.

Sansha authorities are also working on setting up a special coral reef preservation zone to protect the diverse eco-systems off Zhaoshu Island. The project is expected to be finished in 2013.

Zhang said an environmental monitoring system and a law enforcement mechanism will also be built to study the Xisha Islands' bio-system and crack down on illegal activities, including illegal fishing and garbage dumping into the sea.
SOURCE: China Daily
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