Less than an hours drive from downtown Shanghai, Chinese conservationists have created a mile long wetland nature reserve in an area that, just three years ago, was littered with mountains of steel slag more than ten yards high.
In an amazing tribute to Chinese ingenuity, the Paotaiwan Wetland Park is now home to thriving populations of Egrets and Wild Water Bamboo, and has just been awarded the coveted China Habitat Environment Award.
“The 50-hectare wetland is a precious treasure for the ecosystem here,” says Yang Xin, president of the Shanghai Baoshan Greening Management Bureau. He calls wetland “the kidney of Earth,” a purifier and filter that protects water resources.
However, in late 2005, the area presented a totally different picture. According to Yang , “Industrial refuse like steel slag was piling up all over. There was unauthorized construction and junkmen gathered there, making it a dirty and dangerous place.”
“Some piles of steel slag were more than 10 meters high; the dump nearly bordered the wetland. When it rained, the slag would flow into the river, making it dark and dirty. When the wind blew, the slag particles were caught in the air, making it choking.”
Image Credit – mikebaird via flickr on a Creative Commons license