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August 24, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

Creek waste piles up in rains

SHANGHAI sanitation and waterway authorities said yesterday they will need at least a month to dredge mud from the bottom of the tributaries of Suzhou Creek and boost waste collection to clean up the large accumulation of waste and oil in the creek over the last two weeks.

The problem surfaced following heavy rain in the past few days when unclean water from the tributaries were flushed into the mainstream, officials from the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday.

The bureau attributed some key reasons to the pollution in Suzhou Creek, the city's key waterway which is open only to tourism ships.

"The major cause is the mud at the bottom of the tributaries," said Liu Weiguang, a bureau official.

"Under strong sunshine, the mud started to petrify further and the boats sailing along the branches drew this smelly and oily mud onto the surface."

The mainstream Suzhou Creek is banned for all vessels, except tourism ships, following its renovation, which ensured that mud at the bottom has been cleaned.

But its tributaries, which flow along dilapidated residential complexes built on their banks, suffer from a lot of discharge of wastes, which have accumulated with the bottom mud.

Another reason for the pileup of waste is that the mud on flood-control walls became dry in the sunshine and fell into the water. This type of mud is difficult for cleaners to collect.

"The recent flood discharge from the branches into the mainstream resulted in waste and muddy water flowing into the main creek," Liu said. "Sanitation bureaus in districts through which the tributaries flow have been ordered to better remove the waste and oil before discharging water into the mainstream."

Spot checks will also be increased along the creek to warn people throwing waste directly into the river, officials said.

The Shanghai government has invested 14 billion yuan (US$2.06 billion) on the cleanup of Suzhou Creek over the past 12 years.

However, there's still a long way to go to improve its water quality, officials conceded.


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