Something stinking in river chief program

Yang Jian
Over 10 local officials including district directors were warned yesterday after rivers they are in charge of failed water quality tests.
Yang Jian

Cleaning up the waterways of a megacity like Shanghai is no easy task, which is why central and city governments have poured money, talent and policy into the matter.

And the result? Many of the city’s waterways are cleaner than they have been for decades, but elsewhere, failed water quality tests persist with some rivers as dark and smelly as ever. 

It was in this environment that 10 officials, among them district directors, were warned yesterday after the rivers they are in charge of failed the latest assessment.

The officials, including Fang Shizhong, director of Xuhui and Gu Honghui, director of Changning, must immediately introduce new measures to clean up their rivers.

City inspectors examined waterways between May and July, after a campaign to have all foul water cleaned up by the end of last year. 

Four rivers were found to be just as disgusting as ever, according to a report released yesterday.

A national river chief scheme appoints district directors as the “chiefs” of major waterways under their jurisdictions, while the heads of subdistricts or towns serve as secondary river chiefs for creeks and smaller rivers.

River chiefs are charged with cleaning up waterways and keeping them clean. They face punishment if they neglect their duties.

There were 630 kilometers of polluted rivers in the city in early 2017, mainly in suburban districts, according to the city environmental protection bureau. Most have since seen some improvement, thanks, at least in part, to the river chief scheme.

Special Reports