China Daily

New media helps solve old problem


A number of local government­s in Zhejiang province, East China, have turned to new-media channels to help river chiefs fulfill their environmen­tal protection duties and facilitate public supervisio­n.

In August, the government of Shaoxing, a city in the province, developed an app to help its 5,300 river chiefs carry out their work. They log onto the app when they start patrolling and log out when they finish, making it easy to assess their work because the app shows the areas they have visited.

In Zhejiang, city-level river chiefs have to patrol the section of river under their control at least once a month, although the number rises to four for villagelev­el chiefs.

During the patrols, they take photos of problems they discover, including floating waste, collapsed banks and accumulate­d sludge, and upload them to the app.

In late 2013, Zhejiang establishe­d a five-tier river chief system from provincial to village level.

Late last year, the central government ordered all provincial regions to establish a four-tier river chief system from the provincial to township levels by the end of 2018.

Zhou Hong, one of several chiefs for the Daluomenji­ang River in Shaoxing, said the app has made their work more efficient. “Before the app came into operation, as a river chief at the grassroots with limited power, I often failed to solve problems reported by the public quickly, and I often received calls about the same problem from several people,” she said.

“The app and its affiliated web platform have changed that, because instead of going though complicate­d, time-consuming procedures, I can report problems I’ve been unable to solve to higher-level river chiefs via my phone. With the help of the app, the higher-level river chiefs can see all the details of the problems and take action accordingl­y.”

In August, Zhou used the app to arrange for a pile of constructi­on waste on the river bank to be cleared in just two hours. Members of the public can also report problems via the app and monitor the official feedback.

The government of Changxing county in Shaoxing has also opened an official account on WeChat to facilitate public involvemen­t in river protection.

Members of the public can scan a two-dimensiona­l code that has been made public, together with river chiefs’ contact informatio­n, to follow the account. They can also report problems by sending messages via the platform.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong