Rustbelt province aims high to curb pollution

By Rong Xiandong (
Updated: 2014-03-05 22:27

Northeast China's Liaoning province, one of the country's traditional economic powerhouses, will continue to invest heavily to conserve its once heavily polluted environment, the province's governor said on Wednesday.

Liaoning province's environmental protection efforts will focus on tackling air and water pollution as well as preservation of over-exploited mines and reforestation of barren mountains, said Governor Chen Zhenggao, also a national lawmaker, in a panel discussion of the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

Rustbelt province aims high to curb pollution
2014 two sessions

Chen said the deteriorated environmental conditions are one of the results of heavy industrial development in the past several decades.

Liaoning, together with two other Northeast China provinces -- Heilongjiang and Jilin -- has contributed much to the country's high-speed development.

As part of its efforts to rein in water pollution, the province has established a prefectural-level agency to administrate Liaohe River, one of seven major rivers in China, with a total investment of 31 billion yuan ($5.06 billion), according to the governor.

"This effort is an innovation in China," said Chen.

As part of its "Blue Sky" project, which aims to reduce smog that has plagued many parts of the country in the past two years, the province has invested significantly in thermal power and natural gas.

In Shenyang, the provincial capital, more than 3,000 small coal-fired boilers have been replaced by a heating system with thermal power to reduce emissions in winter, Chen said.

About 45 billion yuan is also being invested in building natural gas pipes in major towns in the province to reduce the use of coal and oil, two major pollutant sources.

The governor admitted the province faces an uphill task in fight against pollution.

"Liaoning province, as a traditional heavy industrial base of China, is under tremendous pressure to protect its environment," Chen said in his 2013 government work report in January.