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China pledges to protect lakes

Updated: Nov 19,2014 3:49 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China has published an action plan to protect the country’s lakes from pollution.

An executive meeting of the State Council in December last year approved a plan on protection of lakes whose water quality is relatively sound.

The document, published on Nov 18, mapped out measures to be taken between 2013 and 2020 to protect 365 such lakes in China.

The plan, jointly released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance, vowed to avoid the previous “treatment after pollution” approach.

The protection will be carried out in five major areas where lake water quality is relatively sound including northeast China, east China, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the Inner Mongolia-Xinjiang regions.

Lakes which are major drinking water sources or those having important ecological functions will also be a priority in the protection.

Zheng Binghui, deputy director of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, said the focus of lake protection will change from simply emphasizing water quality to paying more attention to the ecology of the entire lake basin.

A report released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection earlier this year revealed 17 out of China’s 31 major freshwater lakes are suffering from pollution at “slight” or “moderate” levels. Pollution in the Dianchi Lake in southwest China’s Yunnan province was rated as “severe.”

China is also experiencing a water deficit reaching more than 50 billion cubic meters annually in terms of water consumption, said Chen Ming, an official with the Ministry of Water Resources.

The situation could worsen with further economic development and the global climate change, Chen said.

Experts blamed some local governments and enterprises with reckless pursuit of quick money by developing projects with high resource consumption and serious pollution.

In addition to streamlined management, curbed pollution and water preservation, experts have called for comprehensive protection of water as well as forests and farming lands.