Wenzhou reshapes Sanyang Wetland
The western entrance to Sanyang Wetland in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo/ zj.zjol.com.cn]
Located not far from downtown Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang province, Sanyang Wetland was turned into a part of Wenzhou Ecological Park in October 2018 and had received more than 2 million tourists by the end of 2019. The park won the title of "2019 China's Demonstration Scenic Area that Integrates Culture and Tourism."
"I could not imagine this place would be so beautiful," said Chen Caisong, a 63-year-old former villager living nearby, gasping in admiration while recently touring the picturesque Sanyang Wetland in a boat.
Chen was not impressed with the wetland at all when he moved out years ago with thousands of locals in response to the government's strong call for ecological restoration.
Sanyang Wetland spans 10.67 square kilometers in area, as well as consists of 161 islands and 138 watercourses. With 30 percent of its area covered by water, Sanyang Wetland is often dubbed as the "the kidney for Wenzhou."
A decade ago, the wetland was scattered with more than 1,000 workshops and some 16,000 residents living in nine villages. "Previously, near the wetland were numerous workshops producing iron nails and electroplated parts, as well as large fields of farms," Chen explained. "The industrial, agricultural, and domestic pollution gradually turned the wetland's once clear riverways in my childhood memory into sewage ponds."
To restore the ecology of the wetland, local authorities managed to relocate more than 8,000 households in 14 nearby villages in 2017 and have so far compensated the villagers with more than 7,000 new apartments in a dedicated residential community. Villagers are provided with new job posts and a complete set of infrastructure, including educational, medical, and community service facilities. Chen now plants rice for a living in his new residential community and walks to the wetland for fun in his leisure time.
Over the past decade, the government has also invested heavily in ecological restoration and landscape renovation. Successful outcomes started to emerge from its efforts in recent years.
Statistically, the total number of plant varieties currently in Sanyang Wetland has increased by more than 100 compared with its total in 2003. The wetland has also seen a surge of bird species and population. In addition, all the water areas in the wetland have reached Grade Ⅳ or above in quality ratings.