Buildings hug the coast of Haikou Bay, South China’s Hainan province. [Photo/VCG]

Haikou, capital city of South China’s Hainan province, will become China’s first city to put into force a regulation to protect its bay resources starting Nov 1, according to local authorities.

Yan Yinli, an official with the Legal Affairs Committee of the Haikou Municipal People’s Congress, said Haikou became one of the first pilot cities to introduce the bay chief system in China in late 2017 and has taken the lead in strengthening marine environmental protection.

The overall situation of the marine ecological environment in the city is still relatively severe, especially in some key bays which have been affected by land-based pollution emissions and improper use of bay areas. The regulation was intended to explore an effective new model of marine environmental governance and systematically solve problems in marine ecological protection, Yan said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The coastal city governs many islands and bays, including Haikou Bay, Jinsha Bay and Puqian Bay, with water area of 830 square kilometers and a coastline stretching 136 kilometers.

According to the provisions, the Haikou Municipal People’s Government will establish a three-level bay chief system with top officials of the city, the districts and townships serving as bay chiefs at respective levels, each with different duties.

The bay chiefs’ responsibilities include pollution prevention and control, marine ecological restoration and environmental monitoring.

The inspection mechanism requires that Haikou’s senior officials, including the Party secretary of the city’s CPC committee and the mayor, inspect the city’s bays at least twice a year, heads of city districts do their duty once a quarter and township bay chiefs must patrol the bays under their jurisdiction once a month.

At the same time, the regulation asks the city government to set up a supervision and interview mechanism to ensure bay chiefs at all levels perform their duties.

To realize land and sea coordination and river and bay co-governance, the regulation stipulates the Haikou city government establish a joint action mechanism for the management and protection of its bays and rivers. It said bay chiefs and river chiefs should organize joint inspections to ensure the local bay and rivers receive good care.

Xie Tian, director of the Haikou Bay Chief Affairs Center, said Haikou has 40 bay chiefs and 136 personnel involved in bay inspection.