NANJING -- 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
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 Lake.
One of the most densely populated regions in China, the Taihu Lake drainage
area receives 56 billion tons of sewage discharge each year.
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 Municipality.
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
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 lake.
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are believed to be major causes of
algae blooms, which develop in water that is rich in nutrients.
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 lake.
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.