Across China: From polluter to protector, corporate leaders fight water pollution


  • World
  • Wednesday, 16 Dec 2020

FUZHOU, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Peng Yibin, board chairman of a quarrying company in Jianning County, east China's Fujian Province, has been guarding rivers in the small county for six years.

Targeting on discarded jars, bottles, plastic bags and all environmentally unfriendly elements, Peng, 52, conducts his routine patrol at least once a week on two waterways in Jianning -- a river section, and a mountain stream running through mining areas.

"I'm responsible for the supervision of the water quality and preventing pollution and substandard discharge from surrounding industries," Pan said. Detailed conditions of the waterways are recorded and timely submitted to the river chief office or the township government.

Peng is one of the 62 corporate river chiefs in Jianning County where 13 enterprises are responsible for 13 waterways with a total length of 272.5 km.

"Being a corporate leader as well as a river chief has coincided with the principle of green development of our company," Peng said. "Besides, in terms of corporate social responsibility, we also want to do our part for the locals."

"From polluter to protector, the corporate river chiefs are part of our river chief system to assign each waterway in the county a specific steward, in a bid to mobilize forces further to prevent pollution and protect the local environment," said Ke Guohua, head of the county's bureau of water resources.

According to the official, there are currently more than 130 river chiefs entrusted with various responsibilities in Jianning and the county has been exploring ways to upgrade the patrolling mechanism.

Jianning County launched a smart platform for the river chiefs in 2015, investing more than 1.6 million yuan (about 245,000 U.S. dollars). It was officially put into use in 2016, mainly focusing on the patrol, maintenance and protection of the county's 29 rivers. The platform shows integrated data such as precipitation, water quality and buildings along the river.

"We've also employed 93 full-time river managers who can use our specialized patrolling app to conduct daily work," Ke said. "These managers can use this app to follow designated routes and report any problem on the intelligent river chief platform. The platform staff would collect such information and pass it on to local authorities."

The river chief system has also boosted the anti-poverty campaign in Jianning. Of the 93 full-time river managers, six are from impoverished households and the job can help increase their income by up to 1,000 yuan a month.

"Since taking up the responsibility of a corporate river chief, I have developed a stronger sense of duty and feel greatly motivated to promote the green development of my company," said Peng Yibin.

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