China to close 10 hydropower stations to protect Qilian Mountains
LANZHOU, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Gansu Province will close 10 hydropower stations this year, in efforts to protect the national nature reserve in the Qilian Mountains.
More than 200 herders and 61,000 sheep will also be moved out of the core zone of the reserve, governor Tang Renjian told local legislature Wednesday.
The Qilian Mountains, on the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, was designated a national nature reserve in 1988. However, many illegal mining projects and hydropower stations have sprung up as a result of lax supervision in recent years, inflicting significant damage to the environment.
The central government found serious irregularities in the Qilian Mountains last year, including over-exploitation of mineral resources, illegal construction and operation of hydropower facilities, excessive emissions by local enterprises, as well as the failure of local officials to rectify existing environmental issues.
Environmental supervision was tightened and vice governor Yang Zixing received a serious warning over dereliction of duty.
In December, provincial authorities revised local environmental protection regulations to ban production activities, including mining, in the core and buffer zones of the Qilian Mountains nature reserve.