Maozhou River in Baoan district, Shenzhen / Image: Baidu
SHENZHEN is in a battle against river pollution and will invest 61.6 billion yuan (US$9.47 billion) in the coming years, according to a Shenzhen government plan. Twenty billion yuan will be used to build 4,260 kilometers of sewage pipes.
The plan predicts better water quality in Shenzhen Bay, the Maozhou River and the Shenzhen River.
The latest statistics of the provincial environmental protection department show that of 22 rivers that need to be treated, 19 are seriously polluted.
The Maozhou River and the Guanlan River in Shenzhen are among the top five most polluted, though water quality has improved after recent treatment. Treating the water in the Maozhou River has been listed as a government task in the city’s 13th five-year program, running from 2016 to 2020.
Running through Dongguan and Shenzhen, the Maozhou River is the most polluted river in the Pearl River Delta region.
Some efforts have been made to clean up the Maozhou River since 2013 and there has been a slight improvement in water quality. Nitrogen and phosphorus content of the water remains a major concern.
Residents of the Pearl River Delta have been shocked recently to hear reports that more than half of the waterways in Shenzhen are black, polluted and smelly. Image: AFP
Some new sewage treatment plants have been put into use, yet the pipes connecting to the plants are not sufficient. Shenzhen has shut down only a small number of heavily polluting factories on a 14.8-kilometer section of the Maozhou River．
“When I first moved to near the Xinpotou River, the largest branch of the Maozhou River, the river smelled foul. But now the situation has improved a little,” said a resident surnamed Liu.
Every day, Liu crosses a bridge over the river and often notices the smell. “I don’t know whether there is any poisonous gas in the area that smells bad. I hope the government will take measures immediately and complete treatment as soon as possible,” Liu said.
In the past five years, the city has invested 12.8 billion yuan in water treatment, an increase of 33.3 percent over the previous five years.
There are still 34 polluted areas, including rivers and lakes in the main areas in the city, despite huge government investment to clean up the areas.