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Restoration efforts on Yitong River improve environment, recreation

By Yuan Shenggao and Han Junhong | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-06 07:22

The 343-kilometer-long Yitong River, with its source in Qingding Mountain in Yitong county, Jilin province and a route that flows through four counties and Changchun, capital of Jilin, before joining the Songhua River, is referred to affectionately by locals as the mother river of Changchun.

Yet Changchun's rapid development and urbanization since the 1950s did more than just turn the city into an industrial center - it also polluted the Yitong River.

The municipal city of Changchun first started looking into the river's pollution problem in 1986, and pollution treatment has not stopped ever since. In 2005, the city government earmarked the ecological construction of the river as "the No 1 city construction project", and in 2010, the city government invested 18.8 billion yuan ($2.71 billion) in projects that aimed to transform the river into the "lifeline, ecological axis and scenic belt" of the city.

But the conditions of the river did not fundamentally change until 2016, when the city vowed to build the river into the city's "ecological gallery".

The authorities have taken concrete measures to strengthen sewage treatment, improve flood prevention and control projects, and enhance water quality and riverside scenery.

Wang Junzheng, Party chief of Changchun and river chief of the Yitong River, said that the city's flourishing comes from the river, and the river is not only the life of the city but also its soul.

Wang pointed out that this is a comprehensive project, involving issues in areas such as water resources, water safety, water environment and water ecology, and so must be implemented systematically.

The government has paid special attention to integrating the newly built water conservancy works after 2016 into the riverside scenery. The main work of the water channel has been finished, connecting Nanxi Wetland Park in the south to Beihu Riverside Park in the north.

The water has become clean and the river has been dredged. There are green belts on both sides of the river, and 11 bridges across the river have been upgraded.

Also, public leisure sites on five small islands in the river and 10 theme parks on Changchun's development, culture and history along the river are planned or currently under construction.

The Nanxi Wetland Park, which covers an area of 310 hectares, used to be a patch of wasteland. As part of the Yitong River project, the government turned the place, which few people wanted to live beside, into a large public park, and the land around it has become a new high-end residential community.

Restoration efforts on Yitong River improve environment, recreation

(China Daily 12/06/2018 page10)

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