Suzhou Creek waterway runs through Huangpu and Hongkou districts and flows into the Huangpu River at Waibaidu Bridge. (Wang Rongjiang/SHINE)
Shanghai is launching a series of assessments to check water quality in Suzhou Creek as part of the fourth round of an anti-pollution campaign.
Shanghai Water Authority said the campaign aims to clear polluted water — currently rated Grade 5 plus — on the creek's main stream by 2020 and on its branches by 2021. The campaign will also reinforce levees along the creek and improve shipping channels.
By the same date, an ecologic sightseeing corridor will be completed along the creek and it will become a showcase for the city's haipai culture — the unique Shanghai culture that combines traditional Chinese and Western culture — and an open recreational area.
The plan for the fourth round of campaign was approved by the city's government last week.
China has different grades of water quality. While Grade 1 water is potable after simple purification, Grade 6 represents heavily polluted, and Grade 5 plus refers to water quality which is "inferior to Grade 5."
The part of Suzhou Creek that runs through Shanghai is rated Grade 5 plus, with excessive ammonia and nitrogen as the main pollutants, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.
Of the 125-kilometer Suzhou Creek, which starts in Jiangsu Province and flows into the Huangpu River at Waibaidu Bridge, some 53 kilometers are in Shanghai, running through Qingpu, Jiading, Minhang, Changning, Putuo, Jing'an, Huangpu and Hongkou districts.
"Apart from the assessments, we will also look into the sewage drains along the creek and set plans to curb pollution accordingly," said Ma Weizhong, the water authority's director of resource administration.
Illegal construction and illegal pollution discharging in an area within a kilometer of the creek will be targeted.
During the campaign, the authority will also speed up construction of the Hongqiao sewage treatment plant to reduce pollution caused by rainfall.
The campaign is estimated to finish around 2022. In the next four years, about 2012 branches — including the 36 main branches — of the creek will see comprehensive treatment based on each branch's current condition.
The city has invested more than 14 billion yuan (US.1 billion) in three rounds of campaigns to deal with pollution since 1998. The black water and foul smell of the creek is almost gone but water quality is still poor, while some parts of the waterfront are dirty and disordered.
According to the authority, the ecologic sightseeing corridors along the creek in Qingpu, Jiading and Minhang districts are gradually wrapping up construction. The first-stage 3.8-kilometer long waterfront walking path in Changning District has also opened to the public this year.