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Rare birds drawn to island as environment is prioritized

Updated: Nov 8, 2022 By SONG MENGXING China Daily Print
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When talking about industrial parks, people may think of chimneys, noise and polluted production sites. However, this is not the case with the industrial park on Donghai Island in Zhanjiang. It has lush vegetation, blue skies and clean waters throughout the year.

It is still an important habitat for birds, with Chinese white dolphins swimming in the nearby bay and mangrove forests growing on the west coast.

Huang Wenming works at the Zhanjiang facility of Baosteel and has photographed birds on the island and in its vicinity for more than six years. "More birds came to Donghai Island this year compared with previous years," he said, adding that some species are new to the area.

Through his camera, he has found more than 10 animal species on the national third-class list for protection so far this year. He has also spotted several kinds of rare and endangered birds, such as chestnut-headed bee-eaters, on beaches or even manufacturers' premises.

The bee-eaters have demanding environmental requirements. Their presence demonstrates that the Zhanjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone, of which the island industrial park is a part, has protected its environment well.

Behind this pleasant scene are the joint efforts of the zone's administrative committee and the enterprises on the island to improve the ecological environment of their homeland. The zone has set aside a fund worth more than 10 billion yuan ($1.37 billion) for projects related to energy conservation and environmental protection on the island. It aims to promote clean production and utilize energy resources efficiently.


Flocks of birds are spotted near the Zhongke establishment on Donghai Island. LIN JIANGHAI/FOR CHINA DAILY

Great efforts have been made to improve the water environment and air quality, solve soil pollution problems and recycle solid waste.

To ensure the stability of the ecosystem, the zone has endeavored to protect mangrove forests, coral reefs and coastal wetlands on and near the island. It also aims to improve the quality of life for residents and build itself into a better area for working, doing business, living and traveling.

Many enterprises on the island have joined. Baosteel Zhanjiang has invested more than 10 billion yuan in total over the past few years in energy conservation and environmental protection and adopted 153 related technologies.

Several environmental indicators of the company have been rated satisfactory. It has also developed a drainage-recycling project and achieved "zero discharge of wastewater".

For the first phase project, Zhongke (Guangdong) Refinery and Petrochemical facility invested more than 3.68 billion yuan in environmental protection and used internationally advanced clean production techniques. In total, 98.52 percent of its water resources are reused while 76.2 percent of sewage is recycled.

Chemical company BASF announced in May it had signed a long-term agreement with Brookfield, a renewable energy power company. Brookfield will build a renewable energy power station, comprising solar power, wind power and energy storage, for BASF's Verbund site on Donghai Island.

BASF also plans to explore the recycling of plastic waste and build a higher-level recycling system.

In the next step, the Zhanjiang Economic and Technological Development Zone will focus on reducing the discharge of main pollutants, volatile organic contaminants and its energy consumption to get prepared for more massive projects to come, local authorities said.

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