The area of the Yellow River Wetland Park in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui autonomous region, was once a place local people avoided: raw sewage caused awful smells and almost no grass could grow on the land.
Now, the park has not only become a popular destination for locals to take a walk, but also a habitat frequented by migratory birds.
As secretary-general of Ningxia’s bird observation association, Li Zhijun witnessed the huge changes at the park. According to him, the Yinchuan Wetland Park, together with other wetland areas along the Yellow River in Ningxia, has become a famous spot for bird photographers. More habitats for migratory birds are appearing as the environment improves, added Li in an interview with China Daily.
The Yinchuan Wetland Park is a microcosm of China’s achievements in wetland protection. On Nov 10, seven Chinese cities were awarded “international wetland cities” at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 14). So far, there are 13 wetland cities in China, showing a great variety of patterns and styles.
For example, Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, is known as a “city of a hundred lakes”. The city has five large wetland reserves, where tens of thousands of birds come to stay in wintertime, noted the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Liangping district in Chongqing, however, is totally different from natural wetland. It is more closely tied to human activity. People built small wetlands in rural areas. What’s more, they have combined these wetlands with organic farms, homestays, and healthcare centers, which has resulted in an income increase of 52,000 yuan per household.
Panjin in Liaoning province is another surprising wetland city. In the past, the city has long suffered from environmental problems caused by oil production. But now in the coastal wetlands, seagrass turns a breathtaking red every autumn, creating beautiful “red beaches”.
Chen Zhihai, a local fishery worker, said to Panjin Daily, “In the past, there were almost no wild fish and shrimp. Thanks to the efforts of ordinary Panjin people, now the wetland is back again!”