Yichang on mission to clean up Yangtze River

Yichang on mission to clean up Yangtze River

BEIJING, March 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China Daily: The city of Yichang, which is located in the central province of Hubei and the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, has made marked progress in curbing pollution, cleaning up heavy industry and raising environmental awareness as it strives to become an exemplar of protecting the nation’s mother river.

An aerial view of Yichang city in Hubei province.
An aerial view of Yichang city in Hubei province.

The latest survey shows the number of Yangtze finless porpoises living in the Yichang section of the Yangtze has grown to 23, up from five in 2015, according to a local official.

The critically endangered freshwater dolphin species, known as the “giant panda of the water”, is seen as a barometer of the ecological condition of the Yangtze River basin.

Over the past five years, Yichang has made notable achievements in managing wastewater outlets, reducing pollution by ships and repairing the ecosystems along the Yangtze, among other aspects.

As of October, Yichang had finished the on-site investigation, monitoring, tracing and naming of 1,973 wastewater outlets along the Yangtze River and Qingjiang River basins, and had renovated 1,677 of them, according to the local Sanxia Daily newspaper.

The Qingjiang River, spanning 423 kilometers, is a tributary of the Yangtze.

Yichang boasts a thriving shipping industry. It has been promoting the green growth of the industry by optimizing ship designs and adopting clean energy, among other measures.

In 2022, Yichang built 125 ships with a gross tonnage of 360,000 metric tons, accounting for more than half of Hubei’s total. Among the vessels, 28 are powered by new energy.

Yichang has set up a task force to renovate shore-to-ship power facilities on ships. Sixteen ships were renovated in 2020, 76 in 2021 and 207 in 2022.

Assuming that each of those ships used a 40-kilowatt diesel generator for 10 hours on average every day before the renovation, the 299 ships can now reduce their collective fuel consumption by 9,269 tons and carbon dioxide emissions by 27,807 tons annually.

Yichang has also been making efforts to raise environmental awareness throughout communities.

From this year onward, the city will celebrate the Yichang Yangtze River Protection Day on April 24.

Wang Yunguo, a resident of Yichang’s Yiling district, has built a laundry sink next to his house. The laundry wastewater flows into a septic tank on the side, Sanxia Daily reported in November.

Previously, the family of five did their laundry in the stream in front of their house. Wang decided to build the sink after his granddaughter, a middle-school student, told him that the phosphate in the laundry detergent would pollute the water.

Zhang Jianhua, head of Yiling’s education authority, said the district has been exploring methods to raise environmental awareness among residents. Stepping up environmental education for schoolchildren is seen as one of them.

For businesses in Yiling, the local government is urging them to fulfill their environmental duties in production processes, production techniques and other aspects of business.

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