The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors yesterday approved a loan of US$147 million to China to help finance the Second Shandong Environmental Project.
The project aims to support sustainable improvements in the environmental conditions of nine participating cities and counties of east China's Shandong Province. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will also support the effort through a grant of US$5 million for the reduction of land-based pollution along the Yantai coast and the Bohai Sea that border the province by piloting septic tank waste management techniques.
Shandong, with a population of over 92 million, is the second most populous province in China. It is also one of the fastest-growing provinces in China. However, a shortage of water, inadequate wastewater collection and treatment, and lack of solid waste management facilities are presenting serious challenges for the sustainable development of the province. The uncontrolled wastewater pollution of rivers in the area has had a negative impact on the urban environment and damaged the shallow Bohai Sea ecosystem.
"Through this project, the World Bank will help support the provincial government's efforts to address these difficult challenges," said project leader Wang Shenhua, a senior infrastructure specialist for the World Bank.
"We will focus on a number of areas, including helping to build and upgrade facilities for wastewater collection and treatment, solid waste management, and improving the water supply. An important aspect is also the enhancement of financial performance and efficiency of key urban environmental services."
Specifically, the project will finance the development of wastewater collection networks and treatment facilities in Gaomi, Huantai, Qixia, Weifang, Weihai, Yantai and Zaozhuang with associated river embankment rehabilitation in Qixia, Weifang, and Zaozhuang. New waste treatment and disposal facilities will be built in Heze and Rizhao.
In addition, the project will construct water works, transmission mains and distribution networks, and upgrade control systems in Gaomi and Huantai. The World Bank will also support efforts to strengthen construction management and business development and enhance capacity building of the provincial environmental protection bureau. This includes training for provincial and local government decision makers and project owners.
The World Bank will finances 52 percent of the total project cost, estimated at US$281 million.
(China.org.cn February 28, 2007)