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Here's how this Chinese city turned around serious acid rain, river pollution issues

ANI | Updated: Dec 09, 2018 23:53 IST

Liuzhou [China], Dec 09 (ANI): Having been affected by serious water and air pollution for decades, the Chinese city of Liuzhou has steadily implemented norms and inculcated habits that have steadily but surely helped reverse environmental degradation caused due to human activities.
A hub of iron and steel smelters and automobile and machinery part manufacturers, Liuzhou was among China's four most heavily affected cities by acid rains, with up to 98 per cent rainfall found to be acidic in nature, according to an editorial in China Plus.
However, in 2002, the municipal government launched an initiative to curb water pollution in the Liujiang River, the city's primary waterway.
"There were a number of factories along the banks of the Liujiang River. After almost twenty years of effort, we removed all of these polluting enterprises. Some of them were restructured, some shut down, and some moved out of the downtown area and relocated to industrial parks in the suburbs," Deputy Mayor Jiao Yaoguang said.
Liuzhou Environmental Protection Bureau's Chief Engineer Qin Guoqin stated that the quality of the Liujiang River was improved by treating industrial and domestic wastewaters.
"We closed over 30 sewage outlets along the river and established 11 sewage treatment plants. We are now able to dispose of 840,000 tonnes of sewage each day, with a 98 per cent disposal rate. The national standard for water quality is Class 3, and 70 per cent of the water in the Liujiang River has reached Class 2 or above," Guoqin said.
She further stated that the bureau urged industries to take steps to reduce the amount of waste they discharge.
Among the companies to implement such measures was Liuzhou Iron and Steel Group, with Deng Shen, the director of the company's technical center, stating that they invested as much as USD one billion in emission reduction and conservation of energy.
"We recover waste heat and surplus energy to generate electricity. We now generate around 85 per cent of the power that we consume. We also recycle steel scraps and make construction materials like cement using residues. The whole production process is almost 100 per cent recyclable," Shen said.
The Liuzhou municipal government also initiated a project called 'garden city' in the year 2012 that led to the planting of over 8.6 million plants.
A culmination of these measures has seen the levels of sulfur dioxide, one of the primary instigators of acid rain, to continuously drop over the years.
India can also take a leaf out their book and tackle the larger threats that are posed by environmental degradation, starting with the capital city, where alarming levels of air pollution has increasing health risks among residents.
Also, the restoration of the Liujiang River can be taken as an inspiration as projects like the National Mission for Clean Ganga and the Yamuna River Project have not made significant headway towards countering the effects of pollution in those rivers. (ANI)