Huge Loans Earmarked for Harnessing Freshwater Lake

North China's Hebei Province will invest more than 7 billion yuan (US$843 million) to improve the environment of Baiyangdian, the largest freshwater lake in north China, and the ecological environment of the upper reaches of the lake in the next 10 years.

The money will be used in the construction of 26 projects involving tree-planting, water diversion, pollution control and comprehensive improvement of environment, according to a program on improving environment in the lake valley.

Covering an area of over 360 square kilometers, Baiyangdian, known as "the bright pearl in north China," provides water to hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing and Tianjinas well as helps balance the regional ecology.

Due to serious soil erosion on the upper reaches, the lake has been suffering shortages of water sources, water pollution and shrinkage of water area since the 1960s.

The program also stresses the control of industrial pollution, restricting the use of fertilizer and pesticide, and development of ecological agriculture.

One of the targets of the program is that by 2010, the forest coverage rate of Baoding City on the upper reaches will reach 35 percent.

(eastday November 15, 2001)

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