The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Tuesday it will provide a US$100 million loan to help improve sewage disposal and reduce river pollution around a highly polluted river basin in central China's Henan Province.
The project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2010 will assist 15 cities in formulating a practical approach to developing urban environment protection facilities, the bank said in a statement.
The project will build facilities for wastewater collection and treatment and delivery of fresh water in 15 cities around the Haihe River basin, and promote institutional and financial reforms.
The sewage disposal and river pollution treatment projects will benefit an urban population totaling 1.5 million, the source said, adding that about 170,000 of whom are categorized as living under the poverty line of 1,348 yuan (US$166) per capita annually.
In-Ho Keum, a Project Administration Unit Head in ADB's East and Central Asia Department, said: "The project will reduce the exposure of urban communities to untreated water and public health dangers."
The Haihe River basin, part of which lies in the northern part of Henan, is one of the three most polluted river systems in China, polluted by industrial wastewater.
Such pollution adversely affects the local environment and has an impact on public health.
The provision of environmental infrastructural facilities and services has failed to keep up with the region's rapidly growing economy. Despite water shortages, the rate of wastewater treatments is a low 34 percent.
To help meet these challenges, the project will build facilities, such as sewers, pump stations and treatment centers, to increase collection and treatment of urban waste water to more than 70%.
The water supply work including distribution pipelines and water treatment plants will reduce reliance on groundwater extraction from shallow wells and provide water supplies of adequate quantity and quality to 98% of urban residents in the cities.
The total project cost is about US$200 million, half of which will be met by ADB financing. The other half will come from local bank support.
(Xinhua News Agency December 14, 2005)