Luzhou on Yangtze River reports remarkable ecological improvement
The Chinese government has listed ecological protection and restoration among the top development priorities of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Now authorities and residents in the riverside city of Luzhou, Sichuan Province are reporting concrete results from their environmental protection efforts.
In early 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed ecological protection during a meeting on the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
Heeding the president's guidance, the government in Luzhou, which is located in the middle stretches of the Yangtze River, has been proactively implementing measures to upgrade the city's ecosystem.
Local resident, 31-year-old Rao Min, lives in an apartment on the bank of the Yangtze River.
He said the changes in the local environment over the last two years are clearly visible.
"Before there used to be a lot of trash around here, such as discarded plastics or construction materials. But this area has become cleaner and cleaner, almost like a park. Luzhou has many parks, but I think my residential area looks more beautiful than the real parks. I think since the government has begun cleaning up this area, the residents have also improved their ecological awareness," said Rao.
In May 2016, a law enforcement campaign was launched to clean up the water resources of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.
It was aimed at removing polluting businesses and operations along the Yangtze.
He Gang with Luzhou's environmental protection bureau said they have invested 17 million yuan in removing or relocating drainage, ships and wharfs.
"We have restored 20,000 meters of ecological barriers and 34,000 square meters of green areas. 744 pieces of environmental signage and 53 surveillance cameras have also been set up. A new patrol station was established to stop all operations unrelated to water collection and other human interference," said He.
The Nanjiao water treatment plant provides around 80% of the water for daily use to the residents of Luzhou.
The plant has reported a drastic reduction in the levels of ammonia nitrogen and other chemicals since the water protection campaign began.
Tang Daiqiang, head of the plant, said as government efforts increased, so has the environmental awareness of the city's residents.
"The riverbank used to attract a lot of visitors and sightseers, but now fewer and fewer people are showing up. We would also explain to the people that certain areas need be protected and cannot receive visitors, and they would understand. Also, our staff would pick out bags and bags of plastic garbage near the river, but now that has also significantly decreased," said Tang.
Local environmental authorities say an improved ecosystem in Luzhou not only benefits the city's residents but also provides a stronger ecological barrier for those living in the lower stretches of the Yangtze River.