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Xialu township of China receives United Nations environment award

Nairobi, 28 May 1997 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that Xialu Township of the Republic of China has been elected to the prestigious ranks of its Global 500 Roll of Honour for its outstanding contributions to the protection of the environment.

Xialu, a 52 sq km Township in China's Zhejiang Province, has a population of 18,000. The township has made great socio-economic and environmental progress since the 1980s. Some of the achievements include the development of an environmental education programme to raise people's awareness of environmental issues, and the publication of a book entitled Ecological Construction.

Xialu Township has included environmental courses in all primary and middle schools, and has organized a number of activities such as ecological gardens and ecological farms. They have rehabilitated the forest and improved vegetation in the area by setting up forest management systems and reducing activities which put pressure on forests. As a result, more than 70 per cent of the Township has been reforested and many of the animals have returned and the water quality has improved. In addition, experimental gardens using modern agricultural methods were established, and as a result soil fertility has improved and crops returned to the paddy fields.

The Township has also reduced the amount of pesticides used. It does not allow industries, such as tanneries, printing and dyeing mills and cement plants, which pollute heavily, to be set up in the area. Waste from industry and the community are collected and recycled. All of these activities have improved the lives and increased the lifespan of the Township's residents.

"In this its 25th anniversary year and the tenth anniversary of the Global 500 Roll of Honour, UNEP is proud to recognize the achievements of these exceptional individuals and organizations", says UNEP's Executive Director, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

"In honouring them, UNEP hopes that their examples will inspire and guide many other men, women and young people to join the global coalition dedicated to protecting the environment", adds Ms. Dowdeswell.

The award will be presented in Seoul, Republic of Korea at the World Environment Day ceremonies on 5 June 1997. This day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to focus global attention and action on environmental issues.

Some 654 individuals and organizations, in both the adult and youth categories, have been honoured since UNEP launched the Global 500 award in 1987. Among prominent past winners are: French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau; Sir David Attenborough, producer of environmental television programmes; Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Anil Aggarwal, the prominent environmentalist from India; Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental and human rights activist from Nigeria who was executed for leading the resistance of the Ogoni People against the pollution of their Delta homeland; the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States; and the late Chico Mendes, the Brazilian rubber tapper who was murdered during his fight to save the Amazon forest.

To forge global links and to implement ideas which can contribute to a more sustainable future, a network of all Global 500 laureates has been formed.

Xialu Township
c/o National Environment Protection Agency
100035 Beijing
People's Republic of China
Tel: (86-10) 6615 1937
Fax: (86-10) 6615 1762

For further information, please contact

Ms. Patricia L. Jacobs
Information Officer
P. O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 62 3088
Fax: (254-2) 62 3692
E-mail: Patricia.Jacobs@unep.org

UNEP News Release 1997/42

Thursday 29 May 1997
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