Provincial officials in Jiangsu in east China, the theater of a
recent water pollution scare, have put on record their promises to
clean up Taihu Lake by closing small, non environmentally-friendly
manufacturing plants, knowing that future generations will be there
to judge them.
A provincial meeting on Saturday said the province had launched
a comprehensive investigation of businesses on Taihu Lake --
ranging from chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgical, printing and
dyeing and paper making industries to electroplating services.
A total of 2,150 small chemical firms will be eliminated by the
end of 2008, according to the information.
Participants at the meeting also said they were determined to
introduce a host of other measures to eradicate water pollution
from Taihu Lake over a period of 15 years.
Jiangsu will encourage industries featuring high technology,
high efficiency, low energy consumption and less pollution and
raise the proportion of service companies and high-tech ventures.
The province will adopt a strict environmental access system and
say no to businesses that use obsolete technologies and equipment,
or cause serious pollution. Areas which have breached pollution
control limits will be refused the launch new projects involving
the discharge of pollutants.
In addition to banning all new projects involving nitrogen and
phosphor discharges, the province will also implement stricter
water pollution control standards in the Taihu Lake drainage area
in order to force firms dotted around the lake to improve pollution
treatment facilities and reduce discharges.
The province will improve sewage treatment capacities in cities
in the lake area and promote centralized treatment of sewage and
trash in rural areas.
Jiangsu, which raised pollutant discharge levies beginning July
1, is also considering setting aside funds to support key water
pollution treatment projects in Taihu Lake.
Cities and counties in the lake drainage area are required to
increase funding for treatment of water pollution in Taihu
One of the most densely populated regions in China, the Taihu
Lake drainage area receives 56 billion tons of sewage discharge
However, about 30 million people rely on Taihu Lake, China's
third largest freshwater lake, for drinking water, including nine
cities in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang as well as Shanghai
A severe algae outbreak at the end of May rendered tap water
undrinkable for a week for half of the 2.3 million residents in
Wuxi, a city in eastern Jiangsu Province.
By mid-June, a second algae bloom appeared in the
central-western and northern parts of the lake, covering 800 square
kilometers and causing widespread concern in cities around the
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are believed to be major
causes of algae blooms, which develop in water that is rich in
Water pollution in the lake has aroused the concern of the
central government, which has demanded that no more nitrogen or
phosphorus discharging industrial projects be approved along the
Apart from Taihu Lake, blue-green algae outbreaks have been
reported in Chaohu Lake and southwestern Dianchi Lake since May,
and have threatened the local tap water supply.
(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2007)