Yang Zhuang recalls the dirt and grime that coated Chongqing when he visited the city four years ago. "Now it is so beautiful and clean, especially in the evening, " said Yang, a Beijing resident.
He was right. When the city was made the country's fourth municipality directly under the central government in 1997, outsiders were skeptical about its future. A foreign news agency wrote that Chongqing was "the dirtiest city in the world."
Over the past four years, a modern metropolis has been taking shape thanks to the municipal government's heavy investment and diligent efforts to clean up the streets, relocate or shut down polluting factories, build green space around the city, and improve the traffic conditions.
"This is just the beginning, and Chongqing is far from meeting the environmental standards of a modern metropolis," said Chen Wanzhi, a deputy director of the municipal environmental protection bureau.
With support from the central government, Chen said, the city will spend more on environmental improvements, using funds from home and abroad, in order to turn Chongqing into a modern, green city.
Out of all the environmental projects launched by the city, the sewage treatment project may be the most noteworthy, as it will cost 3.8 billion yuan, which includes 150 million U.S. dollars from the World Bank. "Sewage is the biggest headache for the city, " said Wang Yue, secretary-general of the municipal government.
"After a few years, the city will become even more beautiful when the construction of the city's 60 km-long new embankments are completed," said the official. Each kilometer of embankment costs 150 million yuan to build, he noted.
(People's Daily 07/23/2001)