In the aftermath of the algae outbreak at Taihu Lake, authorities in Zhejiang Province have announced the launch of a 120-million-yuan research project to help prevent similar problems arising in the future.
Shen Weiqiang, an official with the provincial government's science and technology department, said the two-year project will seek to find the causes of the pollution in the lake, which contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which yield algae.
The research team will include experts from top academic institutes such as Tsinghua University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Zhejiang University, Shen said.
"The experts will work as a team and use key technologies and research methods to find a solution."
The project's budget of 120 million yuan ($15.9 million) will cover all laboratory expenditure and some pollution-treatment facilities, he said.
"We will take a down-to-earth approach to make sure our effort pays off," Shen said.
Chen Lujun, a professor with the Yangtze Delta Region Institute of Tsinghua University, said the project team was working on certain bacteria to digest the nitrogen and phosphorus in the lake.
The bacteria might also help dispose of some heavy metals and helminthes present in the muds and sludge, which have been discharged into the lake by local factories, Chen said.
Shen said the project will also look at ways to provide an emergency water supply in the event of any future algae outbreaks, and include experiments on sewage disposal.
(China Daily July 20, 2007)