Lake cleanup launched

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 May, 2008, 12:00am

A campaign has been launched to reverse environmental degradation around the mainland's largest inland saltwater lake within 10 years.

The central government-funded programme of environmental protection and rehabilitation around Qinghai Lake, on the vast Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, was also aimed at protecting the Himalayan region, Xinhua reported.

The 1.56 billion yuan (HK$1.76 billion) programme will relocate more than 4,100 Tibetan herdsmen and nearly 1 million sheep and yaks, and remove most permanent buildings around the lake, which is shrinking because of rising temperatures.

Covering 276,600 hectares of wetland and 521,200 hectares of degenerated grassland, the programme plans to reclaim desert areas near the lake by planting vegetation on sand dunes and former farmland.

Xinhua said it would also include cleaning up six rivers leading to the lake, dismantling a hydroelectric power plant nearby and setting up safe drinking water facilities for 36,700 people in four counties.