Yangtze River Protection Law to come into effect on March 1 02-01-2021

At the 24th Session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress, held on December 26, the Yangtze River Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (Yangtze River Protection Law) was approved, and it will be put into effect on March 1, 2021.

The Yangtze River Protection Law states that the construction or expansion of a chemical park or chemical project within 1 kilometer from the shoreline of the main stream or a tributary of the Yangtze River shall be prohibited. In addition, relevant provincial governments shall limit the total phosphorus emissions alongside the main stream or a tributary of the Yangtze River by establishing stricter regulations.

New regulations to affect significant proportion of chemical enterprises

The Yangtze River Protection Law was first discussed at the meeting of National People's Congress Standing Committee in December 2019. Mr. Gao, Chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the National People’s Congress, stated that Yangtze River is considered as China’s important and strategic water resource, an ecological treasure and prominent waterway, and it plays a decisive role in the protection of China’s ecological safety. However, the water pollution of the Yangtze River today is in a severe situation. Thirty percent of enterprises near the Yangtze River with the potential for environmental risk are located within 5 kilometers of the drinking water source area, and there is also a gradual increase in the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes from nearby regions.

An ecological protection expert said that the Yangtze River Protection Law is the first water protection law in China. The law systematically lays out the aspects of regulations, management and control, resource reservation, water pollution prevention, ecological rehabilitation, green development, guarantee and supervision, as well as legal responsibility, which will not only legally protect the Yangtze River but also provide a good precedent for protecting other rivers. 

Coilia nasus in Yangtze River close to extinction

Coilia nasus mainly lives in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Because of its knife shape as well as its thin and silver body, this type of fish is called “knife fish” in Chinese. Coilia nasus became a popular food during the 70s because of its tender meat and nutrition. According to a report, in 1973, the fishing quantity of coilia nasus reached 4,142 tons. However, coilia nasus was barely seen in the Yangtze River early in 2012.

One of the main reasons for coilia nasus’s dwindling numbers is overfishing. With the increase in the demand of coilia nasus in markets during the 70s, the number of people who fished coilia nasus also increased. As a result, the total number of coilia nasus in the Yangtze River dropped sharply. For example, the fish yield of coilia nasus in 1973 was 3,750 tons, and it decreased to 370 tons after ten years. In 2002, the fish yield of coilia nasus was less than 100 tons and it was only 12 tons in 2012. Severe damage of coilia nasus’s spawning sites became the second reason for the extinction of coilia nasus. The third main reason is the increasingly serious water pollution in the Yangtze River.

For more information, please check our China Chemicals Resources.

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