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Yangtze protection efforts enter the mainstream

By Xing Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-04 09:44
A river worker feeds a finless porpoise in the Yangtze River in Shishou, Hubei province. [Photo provided To China Daily]

Yangtze River environment protection has been a hot topic among the country's political advisers, who have gathered in Beijing for the annual two sessions.

Pan Biling, deputy head of Hunan province's environmental watchdog, said the number of Yangtze River's finless porpoises, an endangered species, has increased thanks to the country's efforts in improving water quality, and restoring the river's ecological system.

Pan, also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the CPPCC which opened in Beijing on Sunday.

Fisherman Zhang Chuanxiong has played a role in those efforts. He became a fisherman in the early 1970s, working the stretch of the Yangtze River that runs through Hukou county in Jiangxi province. However, in 2017, he became a river guard, tasked with protecting the Yangtze porpoise.

"I was born into a fisherman's family, and spent more than half my life fishing; now I am paying back my debt to the river," the 65-year-old said, adding that many of his peers have joined him on the river guard team, cruising the waterway to help the local government eradicate illegal fishing.

Next year, though, all the fisherfolk on the Yangtze will have to put away their nets when a 10-year ban on fishing along the river and its major tributaries comes into force.

A program - released by the ministries of agriculture and rural affairs, finance, and human resources and social security in January - aims to provide subsidies, social security and skills training to help fishermen affected by the ban change jobs smoothly.

It is just one of many government measures to protect the ecosystem and cleanse the waters of China's "mother river" being introduced across the country.

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