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Local Wetland Restoration Efforts Gain International Recognition

By KENNY DONGICHONGQING|Nov 09,2022

Chongqing – One of Southwest China Chongqing’s districts was awarded a certificate for being an “International Wetland City” at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on November 5.

The Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971, named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, and serves as an intergovernmental agreement dedicated to conserving and rationalizing wetland ecosystems.

Liangping District, in northeast Chongqing, received the honor based on its long-term wetland protection and restoration efforts. The area has 408 rivers, 78 lakes, and over 800,000 acres of paddy field wetland.

Before, the wetlands were seriously contaminated due to industrial and agricultural pollution, and Shuanggui Lake was a typical case. Once used as a reservoir near the new town area of Liangping, the lake was troubled by garbage, polluted water, foreign species, and upstream agricultural pollution. The over-farming of fish caused water eutrophication. The water quality used to be rated as V standard, the lowest level according to the national quality standard for surface water.

Determining to make a change on the wetlands, the local government began comprehensively restoring the ecological surroundings of the lake by measures including a ban on fish farming, restoring the shoreline around the lake, building a negative list of industries, and improving water conservation.

Shuanggui Lake has a typical mountain-city-lake ecological system. The environmental restoration will benefit three sides, so forth it is attached great importance to the local government. (Photo/Liu Hui, Visual Chongqing)

Passing the benchmark of drinking water

Currently, the water quality of Shuanggui Lake has jumped from standard V to III, passing the drinking water benchmark.

The improved water also attracted wild animals to settle. Two hundred seventy-seven vertebrates were found in this area, including Baer’s pochard, a national first-class protected animal that comes here to live through the winter.

The upper authority has recognized the local efforts. In the new plan jointly issued by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the People’s Republic of China, Shuanggui Lake is selected as a candidate wetland area with national importance.

“As the plan is issued, the wetland protection infrastructure will be improved. Along with the improved monitoring and science research capacity, the ecological protection and restoration ability will be further strengthened,” said the forestry and grassland administration officer in Liangpiang District.

As a party that joined the Ramsar Convention in 1992, China has continued to advance in the legal framework and comprehensive governance for wetland protection. In 2018, China’s Harbin, Haikou, Yinchuan, Changde, Changshu, and Dongying were certified as the first batch of “International Wetland Cities.” China currently holds 13 of the 43 “International Wetland Cities,” ranking first among all country parties.

In the past ten years, China has created and restored more than 800,000 hectares of wetlands, including 64 wetlands of international importance, 29 of national, and 1,021 of provincial, according to the latest survey by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

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