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Important North China Lake Endangered, CPPCC Told

A proposal to save the Ulansuhai Nur lake in north China by members of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, submitted as the Motion on Rescuing Ulansuhai Nur, has seized the attention of the members of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The largest lake in China’s Yellow River valley and one of top ten freshwater lakes in China, Ulansuhai Nur -- a wetland with great biodiversity, once an important migration and breeding place for 6 million migrant birds in 192 categories in north China -- has become a stinking, marsh floating with dead fish, the Conference was told.

Some 288,000 tons of fertilizer residue and nutritional salt from nearby areas are being dumped into the lake, accelerating the lake’s turning to marshland by pollutants that help generate 2.3 million tons of water plants annually. Reed and other plants are choking the lake surface as rotting plants raise the lake bed level by 6-9mm each year.

If something is not done, the Chinese Peasant and Workers Democratic Party told members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), in the next 20 or 30 years the lake could lose all its functions, turn a home for reed and eventually become a desert. Jiang Tianlin, a spokesman for the group, said Ulansuhai Nur could turn into the next Juyan Nur, a lake with plenty of water and lush pasture in the 1980s, but reduced to a gobi in the 1990s, like its surrounding area to become one of the sources for spring sandstorms in Beijing. Closer to Beijing than Juyan Nur lake, Ulansuhai Nur would threaten the production and life in north China if it were to run dry and end up as sand dunes.

To deal with this situation, the State Administration of Forestry has allocated a fund of 12.03 million yuan (US$1.45 million) and launched a 3-year ecological protection project of Ulansuhai Nur wetland. The project aims to clear the water plants, dredge the lake, control the reed prevailing to reduce the mineralization and restore its biodiversity.

Jiang Tianlin said that

In the motion, seven proposals are made.

First, the project so far has not received any fund from Chinese side, which defers the project as harnessing Ulansuhai Nur is an internationally cooperative project and Switzerland and Norway have provided required funds and technology according to contract. The hope is that related departments in Inner Mongolia can provide scientific research fund for the smooth construction of the project.

Second, governments are urged to establish a sewage treatment plant to alleviate the lake pollution.

Third, state and regional governments should intensify lake protection and monitoring. So far, the water quality is appraised only once each year, and the dynamic pollution situation is not well understood. A water-quality monitoring system is urged to be formed.

Fourth, control the pollutant discharge from nearby enterprises and put them under required standards.

Fifth, through ecological plan control the reed growth area and prevent marshland expanding.

Sixth, plant grass and trees on the eastern bank of the lake so as to block silt from mountain runoff.

Seventh, explore water plant resources by establishing a production base of high-protein fodder.

(By Zhang Yan, china.org.cn staff reporter, translated by Guo Xiaohong, March 10, 2002)

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