Cleanup campaign brings numerous benefits

By Cang Wei and Yao Yuxin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-12 07:54
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Greenery covers the banks of the Yangtze River in Nanjing, Jiangsu, this month. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Factories closed

In Nantong, a city located near the mouth of the Yangtze on the Yellow Sea, 203 polluting factories have been closed and 65,000 sq m of illegal buildings demolished in the Wushan area in recent years.

"Wushan", which translates as "Five Mountains", is a 6-km-long area along the Yangtze lined by this number of mountains. Now a national park, it is hard to imagine that the area was once a bulk-cargo port with piles of sulfur and iron ore stacked in the open air.

In 2016, the authorities in Nantong launched ecological restoration projects for the five mountains and the riverside areas, which were home to 70 percent of the city's provincial-level industrial parks and 85 percent of its colleges and research institutions.

They chose restoration of the Yangtze's ecological system over economic concerns — canceling two chemical parks along the river, closing many riverside chemical factories, and restoring thousands of kilometers of green land.

After years of hard work, the forest coverage rate in the area has reached 80.83 percent, and Langshan National Forest Park has been established in the locality.

Shao Wenjian, deputy director of Lanshan Tourist Resort's management office, said researchers have found 1,243 types of plants in the forest park. Natural science museums, water tourism projects and several celebrity homes in the area will open to the public soon.

Many such restoration projects have been carried out in all 13 major cities in Jiangsu.

Authorities in the province, which has a population of 85.15 million and covers 107,200 sq km, have restored 81 km of land along the Yangtze in recent years as they closed 3,876 chemical factories in the area, data from the Jiangsu Department of Ecology and Environment show.

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