China has released a five-year action plan to accelerate the improvement of the rural living environment by 2025, the National Administration for Rural Vitalization said on Monday.
It said that rural living conditions will be dramatically improved and sanitary facilities in rural areas will be steadily increased. It also called for better sewage treatment infrastructure in rural areas.
Su Kejing, head of soil ecology at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the ministry will focus on the remediation of rural sewage in areas with dense populations and water sources.
"We will also strengthen the treatment of black and odorous water bodies in rural areas," Su said.
The plan urged the establishment of a long-term mechanism for the management and protection of living conditions in terms of standards, teams, funds and supervision.
It also proposed to protect traditional villages and countryside styles.
Liu Huanxin, head of the administration, said the new plan follows a three-year action plan started in 2018, which has boosted the penetration rate of sanitary toilets in rural areas to around 70 percent.
"The impression of a dirty and messy countryside has been reversed and farmers' life quality has improved," Liu said.
More than 95 percent of villages across the country have carried out cleaning campaigns while all officially recognized townships and villages have access to paved roads and passenger vehicles.
The country has built more than 50,000 beautiful and livable villages with different characteristics, Liu said.
Improving living conditions for the rural population can promote rural vitalization and agricultural modernization, he said.
A beautiful and organized countryside can provide farmers with a decent environment while attracting more talent to find jobs or start businesses in their hometown, he said.
Apart from deepening the achievements and upgrading living conditions, the new plan proposes to respect and mobilize the willingness of farmers to improve the rural environment.
Li Weiguo, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said farmers are not only beneficiaries of the plan, but also participants, builders and supervisors.
It is necessary to use local channels, such as village loudspeakers and posters, to publicize the significance and achievements of improving the rural environment, he said.
Qin Haixiang, an official with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said China will keep protecting traditional villages and natural landscapes, as well as countryside culture.
"We will develop tourism and cultural industries in rural areas, endowing traditional villages with new vitality," Qin said.