Sanya ecological recovery plan brings life back to the coast
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.
The water quality of Sanya River has been improved thanks to an ecologic recovery project implemented in Sanya.
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