Xinjiang's biggest freshwater lake will be better protected thanks to a multi-million-dollar loan from Kuwait.
The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has received a 34-million-dollar loan from the Kuwaiti Government for a project designed to protect Bosten Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the region, a spokesman with the regional government said.
The project, which aims to preserve the lake's ecosystem, may cost 603 million yuan (US$72 million) in total. Domestic funds will pay for the rest of the project after the Kuwaiti loan has been given.
The scheme is made up of a series of engineering projects to preserve wetland around the lake by planting more trees and monitoring water pollution more closely.
The spokesman said the project will help economize irrigation water and generally improve the environment around the lake.
It will also boost social and economic development in the region and provide water for the Tarim River, the principle river in the autonomous region.
Located in the heart of the Tianshan Mountains, Bosten Lake covers 972 square kilometres.
The wetland surrounding the lake is one of four major reed growing areas in China. Each year it supplies 250,000 to 400,000 tons of reeds, most of which are used to make paper.
However, in the past 20 years, the wetland has been shrinking and reed output has fallen due to pollution and other human activities.
The lake water is also becoming salty. Some 20.3 hectares of reeds will be planted around the lake in the next few years to restore the wetland environment.
In the past 50 years, Xinjiang's wetlands, mostly located on the middle and lower reaches of the Tarim River and the southwestern edge of the Junggar Basin, have shrunk by half, a result of population increases and over-exploitation.
Source: China Daily