BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- China will cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent and achieve a continuous decline in PM2.5 density in key areas, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday when delivering a government work report at the annual parliamentary session.
China will encourage upgrading in the steel and other industries to achieve ultra-low emissions, and continue efforts to prevent and control water and soil pollution, Li said.
This year, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen emissions will be cut by 2 percent, he said.
The government will redouble efforts to protect and restore ecosystems, and finish setting redlines for ecological conservation across the country.
This year, more than 6.67 million hectares of land will be afforested, and crop rotation and fallow land trials will be increased to cover 2 million hectares of farmland, according to the premier.
"Wetland protection and restoration will be expanded and pilot reforms for national parks system will be continued," he said.
"We will completely prohibit garbage from being brought into China," he added.
The government will take action to build a "Beautiful China, where the skies are blue, the land is green, and the water is clear," according to the report.
He also noted that China aims for a drop of at least 3 percent in energy consumption per unit of GDP and continued reductions in the release of major pollutants in 2018.
China's total energy consumption will be capped at 5 billion tonnes of coal equivalent by 2020, according to a government plan for the 2016-2020 period. This will translate into a 15-percent reduction of energy use per unit of GDP by 2020.
China has been actively countering climate change and honoring the Paris Agreement. These new efforts are to fulfill the country's commitment.
Beijing, plagued by persistent smog, has been at the center of the struggle since the State Council launched a national air pollution control campaign in 2013.
Last year, Beijingers shelved their face masks more often as the number of "severely polluted" days dropped to 23, compared with 58 in 2013.
Across the country, the average density of PM 2.5 in 338 cities was 43 micrograms per cubic meters, falling 6.5 percent year on year.
China will build a stringent legal system to protect the environment, Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for the annual session of the country's national legislature said Sunday.
Six pieces of legislation concerning environmental protection, air pollution, water pollution, marine environment, environment tax, and wildlife protection have been enacted or modified, said Zhang.
"With all these efforts, a comprehensive legal framework is gradually taking shape," said Zhang.
The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee will continue to review a draft law on soil pollution, revise a law on solid waste pollution, and review the annual environment report and the progress made in meeting targets, he said.
"The committee will continue to work hard to provide strong legal support and to make sure that we will win the battle against pollution," Zhang said.
Soil pollution has been put under the spotlight recently, as it not only affects the environment, but also food security.
Zhou Jianmin, also a member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top political advisory body, said China should take action to prevent soil pollution.
"Soil pollution is easily to be ignored. Once the soil is contaminated, it would cost much more to address, compared with water or air pollution," Zhou said.
Pan Biling, also a member of the 13th National Committee of CPPCC, said that soil protection should be strengthened, and relevant actions are also needed.