New law will boost Yangtze and safeguard waterways

Updated: 2015-03-17 08:11


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Legislators are considering ways to improve the shipping capacity of the Yangtze River following a major decline in the extent of the country's waterways.

"In the 1950s, China had more than 180,000 kilometers of inland waterway, but the figure has been reduced to 130,000 kilometers due to ecological damage and construction work," said Tang Guanjun, a National People's Congress deputy and director of the Changjiang River Administration of Navigation Affairs under the Ministry of Transportation.

"For instance, the passages where dams have been built can no longer be used. Waterways deserve careful protection."

A new law covering navigation channels was adopted in December to boost the Yangtze River's shipping capacity and ensure that the country's navigation channels are kept clear and secure.

Implementation of the law began on March 1. It lays down requirements for the planning, construction and maintenance of navigation channels, and also covers adjacent buildings.

Waterways carry 11 percent of the country's freight, and the Yangtze River, which crosses 11 provinces and cities, is the most important channel.

The central government has proposed the development of a Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Premier Li Keqiang's Government Work Report, released on March 5, said the country will "press ahead with the development of the Yangtze Economic Belt, working step by step to launch major projects including upgrading the area's major waterways and building docks and quays along the Yangtze River to create an integrated, multidimensional transport corridor".

Tang said: "The implementation of the law shows the urgency of the problem. The law will regulate China's waterway administration, and I look forward to seeing the effects of its implementation."