(ECNS) - A remote sensing survey has exposed serious ecological challenges in China’s two economic hubs – the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in the north and Yangtze River Economic Belt along the great river.
Wang Qiao, director of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment's satellite applications center, said the two regions have grown so rapidly they now have huge population densities. They face arduous difficulties in coordinated environmental protection and economic development amid continued intense urbanization.
Per capita water resources in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region is only one-ninth of the national average, said the official.
In the region, the water resource development rate has exceeded 100 percent since 2010, far beyond the internationally accepted safety range, except in 2012 when there was abundant water. About 70 percent of rivers in the region experience interruptions, while wetlands such as Baiyangdian and Qilihai have shrunk and long relied on supplied water.
The riverside in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River Economic Belt is overdeveloped and faces large ecological risks. According to the survey, the shoreline and beaches along the Yangtze River are only 44.0 percent and 19.4 percent of their natural state respectively.
Wharfs occupy 430 kilometers of the riverbank, accounting for 5.4 percent of the total length. Shipyards and ship repair facilities also sprawl across 131 kilometers along the longest river in China. Chemical companies take up another 148 kilometers, posing a risk to the Yangtze River ecological environment.