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China: GEF Grant to Reduce Marine Pollution in the Huai River Basin

February 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC February 23, 2012 - Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a grant of US$5 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the People’s Republic of China to help improve water environment and reduce pollution in the Bohai Sea through a pilot project in the Huai River Basin.

The Huai River Basin, which covers Shandong, Jiangsu, Anhui and Henan provinces, is faced with the challenge to maintain the balance between socio-economic development and environmental protection. With rapid economic growth in the region, many river systems in the Huai River Basin have become increasingly polluted, rendering it one of the most polluted rivers in China. Consequently more and more nutrients and pollutants are discharged into the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea, contaminating these international waters.

Coastal cities such as Dongying City in Shandong Province are both significant contributors to and direct victims of such pollution. Municipal and industrial sewage, rural wastes and agricultural runoff are the main sources of nutrients and pollutants. The Huai River Basin Marine Pollution Reduction Project, which will be implemented in Guangli river watershed in Dongying City, aims to pilot and demonstrate innovative and cost-effective water pollution control practices.

“In the project, we will adopt a comprehensive package of interventions ranging from land-based rural waste and non-point agricultural pollution management to reduce pollution from agricultural and rural sources, to water treatment using constructed wetlands, to establishment and empowerment of farmers’ environmental protection associations (FEPA) in the participating villages” said World Bank’s Senior Water Resources Management Specialist Li Xiaokai who manages the project. “We hope to gain experiences, which can be replicated in Dongying, Shandong and Huai River Basin later.”

The project will finance the construction of a wetland and the upgrading of three sluice gates on the Guangli River, as well as wastewater, human and livestock waste collection and treatment facilities in the pilot villages. Agricultural pollution reduction technologies and best management practices will be introduced and disseminated, including fertilizer and pesticide applications, ecological trenches and buffer strips in crop fields. Farmers’ environmental protection associations will be organized in the pilot villages so that farmers can take more responsibility and play an active role in pollution control. An environmental education and training center will be established to provide training for project staff and farmers.

The total cost of the project is estimated at US$38.98 million, with a GEF grant of US$5 million, and the remainder coming from Dongying government budget and beneficiary rural households.

Established in 1991, the GEF is today the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. It provides grants to developing countries and countries in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

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