Sanya eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery plan brings life back to the coast

China Daily (USA) - - SANYA SPECIAL - By ZHUAN TI zhuanti@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The city of Sanya, a renowned tourist des­ti­na­tion in Hainan prov­ince, is now im­ple­ment­ing an eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery pro­gram to sus­tain its re­cent eco­nomic growth.

In re­cent years, the city has seen rapid growth in its tourism econ­omy and ur­ban­iza­tion.

Now, the city must face a num­ber of prob­lems re­sult­ing from the city’s growth and ex­pan­sion, es­pe­cially those re­lated to eco­log­i­cal de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Pol­lu­tion, shrink­ing of beaches, de­crease in coastal plant life and even land­slides due to real es­tate are the price the city is pay­ing for its suc­cess.

As early as 2014, the city gov­ern­ment pro­posed a plan to build an “in­ter­na­tional trop­i­cal coastal resort city” through en­hanced ef­forts in ur­ban man­age­ment and eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery.

The prob­lems in Sanya are com­mon in many Chi­nese cities. In June 2015, the Chi­nese cen­tral gov­ern­ment des­ig­nated Sanya as one of the pi­lots for city ecol­ogy re­cov­ery, hop­ing its ex­pe­ri­ence can be bor­rowed by other re­gions in the coun­try.

Sanya is a city that boasts “the best sea and moun­tain sights” in Hainan, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal tourism in­dus­try in­sid­ers. There­fore the city gov­ern­ment has at­tached great im­por­tance to re­pair­ing the ecol­ogy of its shores, moun­tains and hills.

Sanya has 260 kilo­me­ters of coast­line, which are now strug­gling to cope with the rapid de­vel­op­ment. Coastal plants are dis­ap­pear­ing, beaches are shrink­ing and pol­lu­tion is on the rise.

To solve the prob­lems, the Sanya gov­ern­ment has car­ried out a “coast­line re­cov­ery plan” since June 2015.

The project to re­pair the Sanya Bay coast is the most im­por­tant part of the plan.

Ac­cord­ing to Li Hua, an of­fi­cial with the Sanya Ma­rine and Fish­ery Bureau, the city gov­ern­ment has in­vested about 20 mil­lion yuan ($3 mil­lion) in the Sanya Bay project. Through sand fill, about 2.6 kilo­me­ters of beach was re­turned to its orig­i­nal state.

Ac­cord­ing to the plan, the sec­ond stage of the Sanya Bay project is to plant veg­e­ta­tion like man­grove, which are saltre­sis­tant, wind-proof and good for sta­bi­liz­ing the sand.

Wang Feng­shan, a re­searcher at the Sanya Gar­den­ing Bureau, said a total of 13 plant va­ri­eties have been se­lected for the Sanya Bay coast re­cov­ery.

Due to these ef­forts, there are al­ready signs of the coastal ecol­ogy’s re­cov­ery.

Ac­cord­ing to Zhang Qi, Party chief of Sanya, rare ma­rine species like the Chi­nese white dol­phin have been dis­cov­ered along the Sanya shores.

“The re­turn of Chi­nese white dol­phins in­di­cates the wa­ter qual­ity of Sanya Bay is get­ting bet­ter and there are more fish — the food of dol­phins — in the re­gion,” Zhang said.

Zhang said open­ing more beaches to the pub­lic is also an im­por­tant part of the city’s coast­line re­cov­ery ini­tia­tive.

In the past, the res­i­dents com­plained that many of the best beaches in Sanya had been fenced by a num­ber of sea­side ho­tels, and they were not al­lowed to en­ter.

In March this year, the gov­ern­ment or­dered to re­move these fences and open the beaches to the pub­lic.

In ad­di­tion, about 40 mil­lion yuan has been in­vested in coastal re­cov­ery and build­ing sea­side trails on these beaches.

An­other im­por­tant part of Sanya’s eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery pro­gram is curb­ing the pol­lu­tion of the city’s rivers and streams.

By the end of June, the city had built 58 km of sewage pipe­lines and 19 sewage treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties. The city also or­dered to shut down more than 200 aqua­cul­ture farms along the rivers, as fish­eries are some of the most de­struc­tive con­tributers of pol­lu­tion in the area’s wa­ter­ways.

The city then turned to its de­clin­ing moun­tains and hills.

In the past years, the rapid de­vel­op­ment of real es­tate and tourism fa­cil­i­ties has led to a de­crease in the nearby moun­tains’ and hills’ veg­e­ta­tion, re­sult­ing not only in wa­ter and soil ero­sion, but also in­creased risk of po­ten­tially deadly land­slides in case of heavy rains.

For eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery in the moun­tain ar­eas, the city re­viewed its ur­ban plan­ning, ban­ning real es­tate projects on the moun­tains’ and hills’ slopes.

The Sanya Civil Or­chard is the re­sult of the re-plan­ning. The city’s orig­i­nal plan al­lo­cated the two-hectare lot to real es­tate de­vel­op­ment, but the area was re-des­ig­nated as a pub­lic or­chard park in Au­gust last year af­ter the re­vised ur­ban plan was im­ple­mented.

Ac­cord­ing to the city’s gar­den­ing bureau, the ter­raced or­chard grove is es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive for pre­vent­ing wa­ter and soil ero­sion, and of­fers the res­i­dents a new space in which to re­lax and en­joy the view.

The or­chard, now home to more than 5,000 fruit trees, is ex­pected to serve as an ex­am­ple of the city’s eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery suc­cess, of­fi­cials said.

MENG MINGZHU / FOR CHINA DAILY

The wa­ter qual­ity of Sanya River has been im­proved thanks to an eco­logic re­cov­ery project im­ple­mented in Sanya.

MENG MINGZHU / FOR CHINA DAILY

The first phase of the vil­lage’s renovation project in­cludes a trail around the vil­lage lake and link­ing the vil­lage to nearby high­ways.

The city has evolved taste­fully over the past few years and at the same time still main­tains its cul­ture and her­itage. We can see both the new and old Sanya ev­ery day. As a res­i­dent of Sanya, I have cer­tainly ben­e­fited from many great changes from trans­porta­tion, lo­gis­tics, shop­ping cen­ters to ac­tiv­i­ties.

vice-pres­i­dent and­gen­eral­man­agerofthe Ritz-Carl­tonSanya,Ya­longBay Sanya has achieved sev­eral goals for its eco­log­i­cal re­cov­ery plan, in­clud­ing re­plant­ing trees to res­cue over-ex­ploited moun­tains, build­ing more gar­dens and wet­land parks and clean­ing the Sanya River.The projects show the im­prove­ment of Sanya, which will let more tourists be con­fi­dent of the city’s en­vi­ron­ment. Stephan Stoss, Hil­tonHainan south­clus­ter­gen­eral­man­ager

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