Factbox: How China is handling its environmental challenges

BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Tuesday is World Environment Day, observed worldwide to raise awareness of the environmental challenges we face.

With clear goals and coordinated efforts, China has made significant progress in dealing with its own ecological issues like smoggy skies and smelly water.

The following are some facts and figures on China's efforts and achievements in addressing these issues.

-- China launched a national action plan on air pollution in 2013. Over the past five years, China's central government alone has invested over 60 billion yuan (9.35 billion U.S. dollars) in air pollution treatment.

-- The sky is bluer. The average density of PM 10 in major Chinese cities went down 22.7 percent in 2017 from the 2013 level, while PM 2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, fell by 39.6 percent from the 2013 level in Beijing and surrounding provincial areas in 2017.

-- The land is greener. China's desertified land has shrunk by 150 million mu (10 million hectares) since 2012, while up to 508 million mu of forests have been planted, bringing the national forest coverage to 21.66 percent.

-- The water is clearer. The proportion of surface water with a national quality rating of Grade III or above rose by 6.3 percentage points in 2017 compared with 2012, indicating relatively good quality.

-- Across the country, river chiefs, bay chiefs, and lake chiefs are taking their posts to protect water resources. There are now around 200,000 river chiefs at the provincial, city, county, and township levels in China.

-- Energy consumption is more sustainable. The country's total installed renewable energy capacity reached 650 million kilowatts by 2017, up 14 percent from 2016. Clean energy generated 1.7 trillion kWh of electricity last year, accounting for 26.4 percent of the country's total.

-- In 2017, carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in China dropped by 46 percent from the 2005 level.

-- The country had "zero tolerance" for environmental violations. Authorities handled 233,000 environment pollution cases in 2017, surging 69 percent year on year, compared with a growth rate of 33 percent and 42 percent respectively in 2015 and 2016.

-- Total fines reached 11.58 billion yuan in 2017, compared with just 4.25 billion yuan in 2015.