Wuhan to push forward ecological protection of Yangtze River

Huang Yue China Plus Published: 2018-01-06 15:40:53
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Two swimming enthusiasts prepare for winter swimming in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province, on December 27, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Huang Yue]

Two swimming enthusiasts prepare for winter swimming in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province, on December 27, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Huang Yue]

In an effort to protect the ecological environment along the Yangtze River, officials in Hubei's capital Wuhan have taken a series of measures to regulate the wharves along shore. 

CRI's reporter Huang Yue has more.

In late December, the average low in the city of Wuhan is around two degrees Celsius.

However, the cold weather seems to be imperceptible to winter swimming enthusiasts.

Warming up by the river, some bare-chested amateur winter swimmers are ready to jump into the Yangtze River.

69-year-old Wu Jishu is among them. 

Having spent his whole life living in Wuhan, Wu says he's seen an improvement of the water quality of Yangtze River.

"I have been swimming in Yangtze River in winter since 1993. The water quality is far better than before. In the past, there was a lot of duckweed floating on the river, which came from the upper reaches. Now, you won't see it."

Located in the middle reach of Yangtze River, Wuhan is leading the way in helping restore water quality on the Yangtze River. 

A photo taken on December 27, 2017 shows a water plant in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province. River water, from 1,000 meters upstream to 100 meters downstream, is under first-level protection to guarantee clean drinking water for local residents. Eleven illegal wharves alongshore within the first-level protection zone have been shut down. [Photo: China Plus/Huang Yue]

A photo taken on December 27, 2017 shows the Yujiatou water plant in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province. River water, from 1,000 meters upstream to 100 meters downstream, is under first-level protection to guarantee clean drinking water for local residents. Eleven illegal wharves alongshore within the first-level protection zone have been shut down. [Photo: China Plus/Huang Yue]

With a history of nearly a century, Yujiatou, now a water conservation district in Wuhan, used to be home to 11 sand excavation plants and nine wharves. 

Over 500-thousand tons of sand has collected here through the years. 

It's also home to an important water plant which provides drinking water to over one million residents in the city.

Wuhan officials spent around 3 months relocating or shutting down all the wharves and sand excavation plants in 2016.

Sun Kai, deputy director of the environmental protection department in the district, says they met many difficulties when removing these wharves because of their long history and complex ownership structures.

"The wharves in this area are nearly century-old, and within this area, there are listed companies, state-owned enterprises and some ferry companies, so the property ownerships and functions of these wharves are quite complicated. But in general, we have won the understanding and support from them, because this action aims to protect the water resource for everyone."

Sun adds that they have provided subsidies to the companies to help them relocate.

"There was a century-old ferry company here, and many of their senior workers lived around here as well. It's hard to move them. So we used special policies to help them move, as well as give them an allowance."

So far in Wuhan, over 200 illegal wharves have been shut down.

For CRI, this is Huang Yue.

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