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Action plan looks to safeguard Yellow River's environment
September 28,2022   By:China Daily
Sept. 28, 2022 -- The latest national action plan for protecting the Yellow River has laid out a host of measures on pollution control and prevention, ecological restoration, the protection of biological diversity and afforestation.
 
Analysts said the policy document, jointly released by 12 central government departments this month, will help tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Yellow River Basin area, including pollution from industries, urban areas, the agricultural sector and water shortages.
 
The Yellow River, often called "the cradle of Chinese civilization", is the second-longest river in the country after the Yangtze River and runs through nine provincial regions, rising on the Tibetan Plateau and flowing into the Bohai Sea.
 
Lu Jun, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, said the latest action plan has given greater priority to ensuring environmental and ecological security in the river basin area.
 
A major highlight of the action plan was its call for steps to cap the development of steel, coal chemical, petrochemical and nonferrous metals industries in river basin areas to prevent the discharge of pollutants, he said.
 
The development of urban environmental infrastructure is another policy priority, as the action plan called for cities and townships located on the river and its major tributaries to ensure full coverage from sewage networks in urban areas.
 
The action plan set the goal of increasing forest coverage in the river basin area to 21.58 percent, restoring 700,000 hectares of natural forests and eliminating bodies of black, odorous water in the region.
 
The action plan also rolls out a host of measures for environmental protection in the river basin area. A number of national parks will be created to enhance the protection of natural forests and wetlands and improve water conservation around the river.
 
The treatment of soil erosion will be prioritized in the middle reaches of the river, including steps to stop the inflow of sand into the river to alleviate the problem of sedimentation affecting lower reaches.
 
To strengthen the protection of biodiversity in the region, the plan included measures for creating better habitats for wildlife and for building up monitoring networks for endangered species. The restoration of migration channels and habitats for fish stocks in the upper reaches of the river was also highlighted.
 
Lu said that protecting the Yellow River ecology would require coordinated efforts between regions to tackle shared problems, including joint efforts to improve water quality, restore the river ecosystem and respond to climate change.
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