Yellow River protection efforts bolstered
Workers assemble solar panels to expand the use of clean energy along the river in Qinghai province. [Zhang Long/Xinhua]
In winter, flocks of migratory birds arrive in the Yellow River Delta in Dongying, Shandong, where the river flows into the Bohai Sea.
At the Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve, which has been dubbed an "international airport for avian species", birds fly across the sky, whooper swans pass slowly over lakes, while other birds chirp in the woods.
In Kaifeng, Zhang, from the administration bureau, said more birds are being seen in the Yellow River Wetlands. "The birds know the ecological conditions here provide a good place to live," Zhang said.
In the past decade, local authorities have made great efforts to protect and restore the Yellow River Basin's ecological system.
The Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve now boasts 1,630 animal species and 685 species of plants. The number of bird species has risen from 187 to 371, according to the reserve's management committee.
The new law states that protection and restoration work should include mountains, rivers, forests, fields, lakes, grass and sand.
The legislation strengthens the protection of snow-capped mountains and glaciers, plateau permafrost, alpine meadows, grassland, wetlands, deserts and spring fields in the waterway's conservation areas, as well as its main sources and tributaries.
To maintain the natural state of certain rivers and lakes on the upper reaches of the Yellow River, mining, sand mining, fishing, hunting and other activities are prohibited within the control area.
The new law makes it clear that coal mining and chemical projects are strictly prohibited within the control area of the river's main sources and tributaries.
In addition, the legislation calls for comprehensive treatment of pollution in agriculture, industry, and urban and rural residential areas of the Yellow River Basin.
Great achievements have been made in controlling pollution in recent years.
Some 23 years ago, the Fenhe River, the second-largest tributary of the Yellow River and the mother river of Shanxi province, was known for its pollution and foul-smelling water caused by coal and chemical factories.
Now, the Fenhe is clean and wide. Not only has the waterway's ecology been restored, but its surrounding environment has been significantly improved thanks to two decades of coordinated action to treat pollution.