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Upper Yangtze River City Builds Barriers for Ecological Protection


Chongqing- The upper reaches of the Yangtze River serve as an important ecological barrier in Western China and the most critical area for ecological and environmental protection in the Yangtze River Basin. Chongqing Municipality in southwestern China, as the last gate of the ecological barrier in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, plays an irreplaceable role in the ecological security of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.

Chongqing has implemented the Yangtze River protection law guided by ecological priority and green development in recent years. Strengthening the protection, restoration, and comprehensive management of the coastline aims to build an important ecological barrier in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

As the water level of the Yangtze River drops, dense grass grows in the water-level-fluctuation zone of the Yangtze River. Photo by Long Fan/Visual Chongqing

As the water level of the Yangtze River drops, dense grass grows in the water-level-fluctuation zone of the Yangtze River. (Photo by Long Fan/Visual Chongqing)

Ecological restoration

In recent years, Chongqing has valued restoring the ecological environment of the Yangtze River to consolidate the ecological foundation of Chongqing. By strengthening ecological protection and restoration, the quality of the ecological environment has been greatly improved.

The ecological restoration of Guangyang Isle is a typical example. A few years ago, Guangyang Isle was a bare patch of land with only many developments and construction plans. In 2018, the government embarked on ecological restoration and environmental remediation work on it. They introduced six measures focusing on natural restoration, including protecting mountains, regulating water, creating forests, dredging fields, clearing lakes, and adding grass. Over 500 species of vegetation cover more than 90% of the isle, and six demonstration areas for ecological restoration have been established, providing a miniature world for tourists and nature lovers to explore and admire.

Moreover, Chongqing has made overall planning for the resources of the Yangtze River coastline, delineating prohibited areas, restricted areas, and breeding areas. It has issued management plans for sand mining in important river channels to ensure the management order of sand mining in river channels is stable and controllable.

The demonstration base of Guangyang Isle. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Ten-year fishing ban

Located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the heart of the Three Gorges Reservoir Area, Chongqing plays an exemplary role in banning and returning fishing in the Yangtze River and promoting green development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

From January 1, 2021, a ten-year fishing ban has been implemented in key waters of the Yangtze River Basin. As early as April 2019, Chongqing started the work of banning and returning fishing in the Yangtze River. In the two years, Chongqing has focused on key links such as the disposal of fishing boats returning fishing, the resettlement of fishermen, the fight against illegal fishing, and cutting off the chain of interests. In 2020, 5,342 fishing boats and 10,489 fishermen in Chongqing had all returned to shore.

Before February this year, Chongqing launched a special action to clean up and rectify the management order of the fishing ban, which further standardized the order of fishing management, ship management order, and fishing-related market order, and comprehensively cleaned up the illegal fishing vessels in the prohibited waters.

Yangtze River Cableway. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

River chief system

Since 2019, Chongqing has issued a series of municipal river chief policies in consecutive years. Due to promoting the river chief system, rivers in Chongqing have seen significant improvement over the past five years.

Chongqing has established a four-level river chief system of cities, districts, counties, townships (subdistricts), and villages (communities). According to the official report, more than 17,500 river chiefs were set up at different levels in 2021. The city’s river chiefs carried out more than 2.88 million river inspections through open and unannounced visits, cross-border joints, and intelligent inspections. More than 58,000 river management and protection issues have been coordinated and solved.

Recently, Chongqing’s smart river chief system was launched. It gathers more than 100 river-related and pollution-related data from various departments of the city’s water conservation, ecological environment, planned natural resources, urban and rural construction, and other sectors, which conducts river inspections through intelligent sensing methods, greatly enhancing the river patrols’ efficiency. 

(Wang Lu, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)


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