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|Monday, August 13, 2001, updated at 10:36(GMT+8)|
Two River Origins Under Different ConditionsAlmost one million people visit the point of origin of the Pearl River every year, in Zhanyi County, Yunnan Province, which has been turned into a scenic resort over the past few years, but the site of origin of the Wujiang River in Weining County, Guizhou Province, is neglected, even though the two places are located merely 150 km apart from one another.
Miao Jing, a staff member at the Pearl River Origin Scenic Zone told this reporter, "We must protect the origin so as to enable the people living along the Pearl River to use clean water." According to Miao, most of the visitors to the area are from the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province, which the river travels through.
However, it's another story at the point of origin of the Wujiang River. "There are no more forests and animals in the area, only natural calamities," said Su Zhongke, a 79-year old man who lives with four of his grandchildren some 20 meters away from the origin. Su's family leads a very poor life and seldom meets with outsiders.
Su attributed the devastation of forests and extinction of animals like tigers and leopards to the rampant human activities that have led to severe land erosion and floods.
In recent years, many local environmental experts have visited the two places and suggested that the people living in the area of the Wujiang River origin should learn from the people living around the origin of the Pearl River. Local leaders hold different views on the relationship between development and environmental protection, according to the experts.
While local leaders in Yunnan Province have always given top priority to the issue of environmental protection, those of Guizhou are reluctant to curb activities that are damaging to the environment and causing widespread land erosion.
"If the leaders of Guizhou fail to change their views and catch up, the province will completely lose in the market competition," said a member of the environmental and resource protection committee of the provincial people's congress of Guizhou.
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