Hangzhou Gets Clean Air Award

Hangzhou became the first provincial capital to be named a model environmental city last weekend thanks to its cleaning the Great Canal and promoting green space.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) lauded this tourist mecca in east China's Zhejiang Province for keeping its average air pollution index below 70.

Green space in the urban area of the city covers more than 60.4 million square meters, 6.8 square meters per capita.

Since 1998, the city has plunged 7 billion yuan (US$843.4 million) into environmental protection projects aiming at a comprehensive improvement of its environmental quality.

A large scale dredging project was carried out in 1998 involving all of the city's 70 waterways. A total of 4.8 million cubic meters of silt were dug up from 216.3 kilometers of waterways.

The biggest achievement of the project was the cleansing of the Great Canal, which said goodbye to its murky and foul-smelling history, said SEPA Director-General Xie Zhenhua at a spot check after the award ceremony on last Saturday.

Real estate developers believe the ecological improvements will increase the value of property near the canal.

"Due to the heavy pollution of the water, we never dared to build homes with windows facing the Great Canal in the past," said Zhang Jianguo, a resident living by the Great Canal.

The famed and popular West Lake also was part of the dredging efforts.

The city has shut down 600 of the most polluting enterprises since 1998.

(China Daily 06/22/2001)

In This Series

China Issues Communique on Environment Protection

Dalian on UN List of Greenest Urban Areas

Plan to Protect Environment Outlined



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