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Water quality of Xiong'an lake improves

By Hou Liqiang | | Updated: 2024-04-07 15:27
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Significant environmental improvement has happened to Baiyangdian Lake in Hebei province since the plan of establishing Xiong'an New Area was announced in April 2017.

The quality of water in the northern China's largest freshwater lake was below Grade V, the worst in the country's five-tier quality system for surface water, in 2017, according to the department of ecology and environment in Xiong'an.

Thanks to a series of measures that have been taken, the quality of water in the lake reached Grade III in 2021, and has stayed at that level in the past two years, it said.

Water with a quality of Grade III is good enough for most aquatic organisms to survive.

It said the lake now has 276 species of wild birds, 70 more than in 2016, and 48 species of wild fish, 21 more than in 2016.

Feng Erwei, a resident of Xidi village near Baiyangdian, has been captaining a passenger boat on the lake for over 20 years. The 42-year-old is keenly aware of the environmental improvement in the water body.

He recalls when he was a young boy, people drank water directly from Baiyangdian. Diving into the lake with his friends, he said he could keep his eyes open underwater and see all the fish and shrimps swimming around.

The fortunes and health of Baiyangdian began to sour in parts during the previous century as China quickly industrialized. In some parts of the lake, it became so polluted that even the locals would go out of their way to avoid it.

"The foul smell from the lake forced people who lived near it to keep their windows closed, and nobody swam in it any longer," he said.

Now, as water quality improves, Feng said the Baiyangdian of his childhood is coming back.

Peng Chengcheng contributed to this story.

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