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Shanghai on Course with Water Plans
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In a bid to clean up the environment, the Shanghai's water authority plans to expand its sewage treatment facilities to cover the entire downtown area and 90 percent of its suburban townships by the end of next year.

According to the authority's environmental-protection plan for 2006-2008, the city is to build nine new wastewater treatment plants, expand a further five, and construct a total of 1,500 kilometers of sewers. The cumulative effect of the projects will be to give Shanghai the capacity to process an additional 556,500 cubic meters of wastewater per day.

The works will cost the municipal government 300 million yuan (US$38.8 million) per year for three years.

A girl covers her nose and mouth while standing on a section of the Yellow River in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Provinceon Wednesday, to block out the unpleasant smell from the water. The local government is investigating the latest case of pollution.

Work began yesterday on the second phase of a wastewater treatment plant in Shanghai's Jiading District,which is about an hour's drive from the city center. Operated by the Shanghai Dazhong Public Utilities Co, Ltd (SDPUC), the plant can currently process 50,000 cubic meters of wastewater daily.

When the second phase of the project becomes operational next year, the plant will have a total daily processing capacity of 250,000 cubic meters and will serve some 600,000 local residents, Yang Guoping, president of the SDPUC, said.

"Shanghai has already spent a lot of money and effort on improving its water environment, but it is still far from the quality that Shanghai citizens expect," Yang Xiong, deputy mayor of Shanghai who attended the launch ceremony, said.

Yang said the city was also aware of the urgent need to improve wastewater collection and treatment facilities outside the city center. He said a sewerage network would be established in the city's suburban townships and villages by the end of next year and that the wastewater treatment rate would reach 60 percent.

In addition to investing in sewage processing facilities, Shanghai's three-year plan also includes cleaning up its waterways. Authorities have so far reclaimed 201 stretches of river in the downtown area with a combined length of 336 kilometers. A further 18,000 stretches of river on the city's outskirts will be cleaned before the end of next year, a spokesperson for the water authority said.

(China Daily March 23, 2007)

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