The eastern province of Jiangsu will invest 14.6 billion yuan (US$1.76 billion) in the next five years to clean up Lake Taihu, one of country's five major fresh-water lakes.
Jiangsu Environmental Protection Bureau officials said the province will build 65 wastewater treatment plants with a combined capacity of 1.66 million tons of wastewater per day in cities and towns adjacent to the lake.
The lake faces worsening pollution due to massive inflow of industrial and agricultural waste from nearby areas, Xinhua News Agency said.
Treatment centers for garbage and dangerous solid waste will be built in the rich, rapidly industrializing cities of Changshu, Kunshan, Suzhou and Wuxi.
By 2002, major polluting industrial firms surrounding the lake, such as chemical plants, feather-processing plants, pharmaceutical firms and dyeing plants, will be ordered to restructure to reduce pollutant discharge, officials said.
Sixty-two plants discharging huge amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen will be ordered to reduce their total discharge by a set date.
An excessive amount of phosphorous and nitrogen in the lake has been blamed for a rampant outbreak of algae, which can threaten marine life. Large amounts of algae consume oxygen in the water and cause a severe oxygen depletion that can kill marine life and turn a lake into a dead water body.