Lake in new area slated for eco­log­i­cal im­prove­ments

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YU in Shi­ji­azhuang zhangyu1@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Baiyang­dian Lake in Xion­gan New Area is one of three bod­ies of wa­ter se­lected for strength­ened eco­log­i­cal con­ser­va­tion and pol­lu­tion con­trol ef­forts, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istr y of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

“The aim is to im­prove the qual­ity of the wa­ter,” Li Gan­jie, the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, said on Mon­day at a con­fer­ence at­tended by se­nior of­fi­cials of the min­istry.

The other two bod­ies of wa­ter to be pro­tected are Erhai Lake in Yun­nan prov­ince and Dan­jiangkou Reser­voir in Hubei prov­ince.

Xion­gan New Area, which is be­ing built about 100 kilo­me­ters south­west of Bei­jing in Xiongx­ian, Rongcheng and Anxin coun­ties of Baod­ing, He­bei prov­ince, is de­signed to ease pop­u­la­tion pres­sure on the cap­i­tal.

When it was an­nounced in April, one of the goals laid out was to cre­ate a “nat­u­rally scenic city with blue skies, fresh air and clean wa­ter”.

Baiyang­dian, the area’s largest fresh­wa­ter lake, which cov­ers 366 square kilo­me­ters — about 56 times as big as West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince — plays a ma­jor role in reach­ing the goal.

The pro­tec­tion and restora­tion of the eco­log­i­cal func­tions of the lake is a pre­req­ui­site for Xion­gan New Area, said Xu Kuangdi, di­rec­tor of a coun­cil of ex­perts for the co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment of the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion.

The lake’s ecol­ogy has been dam­aged by years of pol­lu­tion that has af­fected its bi­o­log­i­cal sys­tems, in­clud­ing its food chain and other func­tions.

To re­store the lake, He­bei and Baod­ing be­gan tak­ing a series of mea­sures about two years ago to curb pol­lu­tion and sup­ply clean wa­ter.

At the be­gin­ning of this year, Baod­ing said it will spend 24.6 bil­lion yuan ($3.6 bil­lion) on im­prov­ing the eco­log­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment of Baiyang­dian Lake, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Mea­sures have be­come more force­ful since the an­nounce­ment of the new area. Li said the min­istry will dis­patch spe­cial in­spec­tion teams to con­trol black and odor­ous waters, in­clud­ing streams that feed the lake.

The Fuhe River in Baod­ing, the pri­mary river that runs into the lake, was listed as black and odor­ous last year by the Min­istry of Hous­ing and Ur­ban-Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment.

“The team won’t leave un­til the pol­lu­tion prob­lems are solved,” Li said.

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