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Provincial association submits proposal on environmental protection of the Grand Canal


Recently, Zhejiang Association for Science and Technology (ZAST), a provincial branch of CAST in east China’s Zhejiang Province, submitted a proposal to the provincial government on the ecological and environmental protection of the Zhejiang section of the Grand Canal.

The Grand Canal, also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world (1794 km). Starting at Beijing, it passes through Tianjin and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang to Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province. Dating back to the 5th century BC, the Grand Canal has made extremely great contributions to the north-south communication and economic development of the country. Even in present day, the section south of the Yangtze River, including that in Zhejiang Province, remains the country’s busiest waterway and has greatly promoted the economic boom of the Yangtze delta.

Now that the Chinese government is making preparations for officially nominating the Grand Canal as a world heritage site, to intensify the ecological and environmental protection of the Canal (Zhejiang section) is of great importance to the sustainable economic and social development and the nomination of the Canal as a world heritage site.

In this connection, the Zhejiang Society of Urban Science Research under ZASTorganized a salon on ecological and environmental protection of the Grand Canal (Zhejiang section) and world heritage site nomination, to which many renowned experts were invited to discuss on the related issues. Based on the discussions and the on-site surveys, a written proposal was prepared.

The proposal affirms the progress that has been made over the last 20-odd years in the integrated harnessing, preservation and development, such as achievements in intercepting sewer construction, river regulation and the water distribution project. The proposal says that the goal of “bringing water, beautiful landscape and green to Hangzhou city” has basically achieved. These achievements, the proposal says, have laid an important foundation for “restoring the grandeur of the Canal in Hangzhou”.

The proposal has not ignored the problems in ecological and environmental protection. As a result of rapid economic development and environmental infrastructure lag, as well as inadequate input on environmental protection, the management and control of various kinds of pollution sources in the Canal basin have not yet been fully in place.

To solve the problems, the proposal stresses on measurements such as enforcing a stricter control of water pollution in the Canal, organizing large scale dredging of waterways, enhancing the canal landscape quality, broadening the areas of protection and control along the canal, and introducing of local regulations for canal protection.

The proposal by the Zhejiang Association for Science and Technology has been highly valued by the leaders of the provincial government, who have instructed the departments concerned to give serious consideration to the proposal and put it into effect.

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