Polluted Dianchi Lake, Yunnan's largest, takes steps toward cleanliness
2019-02-01 Author : Li Yingqing and Hou Source : China Daily

Dianchi Lake, the biggest lake in Yunnan province, achieved its best water quality in at least three decades last year thanks to the local government's pollution control and ecological restoration efforts.


Covering about 310 square kilometers in Kunming, the provincial capital, Dianchi Lake used to be one of the most polluted in the country because of the rapid local urbanization and industrialization process in the 1980s, according to Wu Zhaoyang, deputy director of the lake administration


Wu said the city began its environmental monitoring of the lake in 1988. At that time, it didn't even reach the lowest Grade V standard in China's five-tier water quality assessment system.


The water of the lake has seen continuous improvement. After upgrading to Grade V in 2016, it further improved to Grade IV last year.


The improvement was measured after a series of steps were taken by local authorities. The governments of Kunming and Yunnan both published guidelines for the protection of the lake. The city government has one vice-mayor overseeing the governance of Dianchi Lake after a special government body was established in 2002 to manage it.


In addition to a drainage pipeline network that stretches 5,722 kilometers, another pipeline network of 96 km, which helps prevent waste water from entering the lake, has been built in the main urban area of Kunming and areas surrounding the lake, the administration said.


Many measures have also been taken in rural areas surrounding the lake and in rivers that feed it. Farms with 6.8 million animals (livestock and poultry) have been closed, and domestic wastewater from 885 villages that once had no sewage treatment facilities is now collected and treated, the administration said.


It added that local governments built 1,300 km of pipelines to help collect sewage along 116 rivers that feed the lake. And tailored pollution control plans were drafted for the 35 most important rivers, it said.

The administration warns, however, that lake pollution remains grim.
China experienced marked improvement in its surface water quality last year. According to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, monitoring at 1,940 sites found that 71 percent of the water was at or above Grade III - a year-on-year improvement of 3.1 percentage points. Bodies of water listed below Grade V, the poorest quality, dropped by 1.6 percentage points to 6.7 percent.
Dianchi Lake still has mild pollution and eutrophication. Total phosphorus and chemical oxygen demand are still major problems, the ministry said.
(Source: https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201901/28/WS5c4e5321a3106c65c34e6bd7.html)
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