CHANGCHUN: The safety of drinking water and preventing pollution in the Songhua River will be a top priority of the government in Northeast China's Jilin Province over the next five years.
The province will try to ensure a supply of safe drinking water by building 30 sewage treatment plants along the river, said Wang Min, governor of Jilin Province, at a recent meeting.
Songhua River flows in 70 per cent of the province. It is also the main source of drinking water in Harbin, the capital of our neighbour Heilongjiang Province.
"It is our mother river and concerns the health and everyday lives of almost 20 million residents along the river," said Li Bin, vice -governor of Jilin Province, speaking at the meeting. He is in charge of environmental protection in Jilin.
Meanwhile, several other projects will also tackle water pollution in the province over the five years, added Governor Wang Min.
According to Jilin Provincial Construction Department, a 200-kilometre-long sewage pipeline has been completed across three cities along the river Jilin, Songyuan and Yanji and will be in service at the end of this year after the building of three water treatment plants.
The plants cost over 1 billion yuan (US$125 million).
Jilin Province has a current daily sewage water disposal capacity of 550,000 tons, far behind the demands of the province.
With a daily disposal capacity of 450,000 tons altogether, the three plants will be able to treat about 60 per cent of the sewage water in the three cities upon completion.
Government officials said residents' demands will be met in full when the 30 plants are built in the next five years.
In addition, companies in the province that discharge waste water directly into the river without processing will face either a suspension of business or closure.
"We urge all polluting chemical companies along the Songhua River to be relocated," added Governor Wang Min.
(China Daily 10/12/2006 page3)