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Gov't announces US$14b lake cleanup
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China has announced a multibillion-dollar plan to clean up a severely polluted lake where an algae bloom forced the suspension of water supplies to millions of people this summer.

The US$14.5 billion plan to clean up Taihu Lake, in a densely populated area northwest of Shanghai, should take five years, said a statement dated Friday and posted on a government website of the nearby city of Taizhou.

Taihu Lake is one of a few lakes where blooms of blue-green algae blamed on pollution have disrupted water supplies this year. Some types of the algae can produce dangerous toxins.

"The plan will control the eutrophication of Taihua Lake in five years and realize the clear improvement of water quality," the government statement said. "In another eight to 10 years, the problem of water pollution in the lake will be basically resolved."

The algae bloom on Taihu Lake in June prompted the suspension of running water in and around the major city of Wuxi for six days, forcing as many as 5 million people to rely on bottled water.

The algae covered as much as one-third of the 930-square-mile lake, a popular tourist attraction that has become badly polluted as the Wuxi area developed into a center for manufacturing and high technology.

Regulators responded by ordering the mass closure of chemical plants that dumped waste into the lake.

(China Daily October 29, 2007)

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