A three-year research and education program was launched by WWF (World Wildlife Fund ) Hong Kong yesterday aiming to help prevent further degradation of the Pearl River Delta, which lies between Macao and Hong Kong.
Alan Leung, WWF Hong Kong senior conservation officer, said the results of the research element will provide a basis on which to formulate appropriate measures and strategies for the area's conservation.
The study will collate and review existing data on the delta's biodiversity, urban development and water pollution as well as identify where information is missing or insufficient.
WWF will also provide training to teachers in the city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province on the concept of freshwater conservation and sustainable development.
The aim will be to enable them to pass this on to schoolchildren, as Shenzhen will continue to be a major influence on environmental conditions of the delta.
WWF Hong Kong's education manager, Nicole Wong, said, "We believe education is the long-term solution to conservation. The higher the level of public understanding, the greater the chance our environment can be safeguarded."
The education element will also include a seminar for teachers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, field trips and school talks. It is estimated that around 21,000 Shenzhen students will benefit.
The Pearl River is the largest river in southern China, and the area is rich in biodiversity, with at least 127 amphibian and 281fish species identified.
Since 1980, population growth, industrialization and urbanization have contributed to the degradation of the region's environment, ecosystems, and the quality of surface and underground water, said Leung.
(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2005)