Zhao Chengpin, 59 years old, rowed a boat to pick up the floating leaves on the Kuzhu River outside Tongjing International Community in Nan'an District on April 8. The river is crystal clear, and swinging clusters of water weeds can be easily seen. Somewhere nearby, a small tortoise is lying on a stone, enjoying the warmth and comfort of spring.
No one can imagine the totally different picture of the Kuzhu River of the past.
The riversides had teemed with nothing but vegetable plots and piles of garbage, which made the river dirty, stinky, and lifeless. The successful transformation started with the integrated environment improvement of the Kuzhu River and its tributaries, a project launched by the Nan'an District five years ago.
Kuzhu River, also known as Changsheng River, is a first-level tributary of the Yangtze River. It originated from Lujiaochang, Banan District, runs through the Chayuan area from south to north, and finally joins the Yangtze River at Guangyang Bay.
"There are residential areas and industrial parks along the river. Suffering from the unregulated discharge of domestic sewage and industrial pollution for a long time, the Kuzhu River deteriorated and became such a stinky river that local people couldn't even attempt to open their windows in hot summer," said Sun Yiyang, Director of Nan'an District Changsheng River Integrated Environmental Improvement Office.
After rafts of measures - such as sewage interception, ecological dredging, rainwater storage, drainage, plant purification, and other countermeasures - the demonstration section of the Kuzhu River presented a fresh look as a recreational park earlier this year.
"We are still working on the improvement of water quality so as to restore the clear natural water environment. The natural ecological riversides will be recovered through various forms of revetment," Sun added.
The demonstration section has treated nine sewage outlets, added 445-meter sewage pipelines, dredged more than 80,000 square meters, and built 13,000 square meters of rainwater wetland. The park has grown 90,000 square meters of aquatic plants and more than 20 ecologically functional plants and completed 1.8 kilometers of the ecological revetment. In addition, it has built lots of parkways, riverside plank roads, and viewing platforms.
"There are more wild animals than before, and I can't even recognize some birds." According to Zhao, some birds even dare to stay on the boat, just like 'friends' accompanying him at work.
Last September, Zhao discovered birds' eggs hidden in wetland plants near the Kuzhu River during his work. "They were white or yellow. I had no idea which kind of birds they would be, but I knew that I needed to protect them."
Five years ago, Yang Xuemei moved to the community but only stayed for half a year. She said, "At the time, the river was foul. Mosquitoes, flies, garbage could be found everywhere, leaving no space for a walk."
After hearing of the integrated environment improvement of Kuzhu River, she moved back. "I have witnessed the changes in the area from the start to the end."
The Kuzhu River, with clean water and grassy banks, is home to a growing number of wild animals, including birds, and fish. Even an unknown stream connected with the river has become an attractive waterscape park.
The annoying river has been successfully transformed into a new ideal place for leisure.
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