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June 6, 2017

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Home » Metro » Environment

Massive cleanup of city’s waterways

SHANGHAI has 1,864 polluted and smelly waterways that must be cleaned by the end of the year, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said yesterday.

The city’s cleanup campaign will not only improve water quality, but also pre­vent it from being polluted again, Ying said in a radio interview to address public concerns.

The waterways or river sections were identified during a survey carried out since late last year and are part of a total of 26,000 waterways in the city.

“The authorities will connect the water systems and keep the water flowing, other­wise they will become smelly again soon,” Ying said. National, city and district-level watchdogs will inspect water quality regularly after the cleanup campaign, he added.

Local “river chiefs” will be responsible for cleaning the polluted waterways in their jurisdiction and maintaining quality in the long term, Ying said. As mayor, he will oversee the campaign as head of the river chiefs.

“Local residents are encouraged to serve as ‘public river chiefs’ to monitor the clean­up and maintenance on the waterways near their homes,” he said.

The city government has appointed local officials, from vice mayors to district direc­tors, as river chiefs, charged with cleaning up polluted waterways and overseeing long-term sustainability. More than 1,000 river chiefs have been appointed citywide, ac­cording to the Shanghai Water Authority.

Residents are being encouraged to moni­tor their performance by using the city’s 12345 public service hotline.

The cleanup campaign will involve dredg­ing rivers, removing floating pollutants, building separate sewage and rainwater systems, and demolishing illegal struc­tures on river banks.

Ying said the city aims to ensure rivers with grade-5 ratings — which stretch for more than 600 kilometers across the city — will be cleaned up by 2020.

About half the city’s surface water is heav­ily polluted or rated grade-5, according to the urban construction and environmental protection commission of the Shanghai Peo­ple’s Congress, the city’s top legislature.

China has six grades of water quality. Grade-1 is potable after minimal treatment while grade-6 is severely contaminated.

Ying said Chongming Island will have stricter environmental standards than other districts to create a “world-class eco­logical island.”

The city is also studying a plan to further improve the water quality of Suzhou Creek, he said. In three rounds of campaigns between 1998 and 2011, some 14 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) was spent in improv­ing its water.

Apart from curbing water pollution, the city government is also focused on the promotion of garbage sorting among local residents and at construction sites, Ying said. “Shanghai will be surrounded by gar­bage sooner or later if the government fail to treat the garbage properly,” he added.

The city aims to reduce the amount of garbage while encouraging sorting and separation among local residents.

About 2 million households have been added to a “green account” system which offers incentives for better waste manage­ment. Some 4 million will be in the scheme by the end of the year.

Staff will ensure sorted garbage remains separate as it is transported from neighbor­hoods to treatment centers, Ying said.

The city aims to change the current gar­bage treatment method from burying to incineration, he added.

“If we keep burying garbage, there would be no land to bury soon,” he said.

Another major item on the agenda for Shanghai this year, he said, was a plan to open a 45-kilometer stretch of uninter­rupted riverside area from Yangpu Bridge to Xupu Bridge. It will incorporate lanes for walking, running and cycling.


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