UN Habitat hails China’s rehabilitation of urban rivers


China’s success in rehabilitation of polluted urban rivers could serve as an inspiration to other developing countries where rapid growth of cities has negatively impacted on the health of fresh water bodies. That was according to a senior official from the UN Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of UN-Habitat hailed Beijing’s bold actions that have boosted restoration of urban rivers amid threats linked to rapid industrialization.

She spoke during the launch of a publication titled “Making cities sustainable through rehabilitating polluted urban rivers: Lessons from China and other countries” which was co-authored by UN-Habitat and Tongji University located in Shanghai, China.

The publication that was launched on the sidelines of the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) underway in Nairobi says that adoption of technologies coupled with innovative policies have enhanced restoration of urban rivers in China.

Maimunah said that targeted pollution control measures combined with sound planning and effective governance have contributed immensely to environmental health of urban rivers in China.

The UN-Habitat has also partnered with Tongji University to develop a net zero carbon village guideline for China’s Yangtze River delta region that will assist policymakers in coming up with strategies to hasten low carbon development.

Xu Zuxin, lead author of the publication and Professsor of school of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University, said the rehabilitation of Suzhou Creek has proved that better management of drainage systems is key to controlling pollution discharged into rivers, both in dry and wet weather.