With thousands of kilometers of natural shorelines restored and many illegal buildings demolished, China has managed to eliminate a great number of major violations that could jeopardize environmental integrity and flood control capability of the country's watercourses, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.
Since the campaign was launched in 2018, many of the violations that were deemed as hard nuts to crack have been addressed, Chen Dayong, deputy head of the ministry's department of river and lake management, said at a news conference on Friday.
"The achievement that has been made is remarkable," he stressed, adding that roughly 185,000 cases had been unearthed as of the end of October.
Illegal buildings that intrude into watercourses are one of the key targets in the campaign. To date, the floor area of buildings that were demolished in the campaign has reached 40 million square meters, he continued.
One of the prominent cases involved an amusement park in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, which was started in 2017 on a 27-hectare plot of bottomland in the watercourse of the Yellow River, the country's second longest.
Local authorities issued multiple administrative penalties against the project, but failed to stop it. In 2018, the river chief office of Henan－which is responsible for all rivers and lakes in the province－decided to supervise the case, he said, and a joint law enforcement action involving various government bodies was launched. The project was demolished in 2019.
Chen said the national campaign also saw 30,000 kilometers of shoreline that had been illegally impeded upon restored. Meanwhile, over 40 million metric tons of waste were removed from the watercourses.
He also emphasized that the ministry will continue its crackdown on violations in watercourses, making full use of the river chief system.
The ministry will strive to make rivers and lakes healthier and more beautiful in its efforts to "enable people to feel more satisfied, happy and secure", he said.
Source: China Daily