Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said on June 5 that the city will clean up 1,864 river sections this year by introducing the system of river chiefs.
There are 26,000 river sections in Shanghai, and more than 1,800 of them are polluted. "By the end of this year, the problem of black and stinking rivers will be addressed," Ying said when attending a radio talk show.
He said the river chief system had covered the 1,864 river sections, which means river chiefs, usually an additional post for local officials, must oversee the treatment of polluted rivers.
"The target of clean rivers needs a lot of work, but I believe it can be done," Ying said.
China first appointed local government officials as river chiefs in 2007 to address a blue algae outbreak in Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province.
The practice was later adopted in several regions rich in water resources to ensure strong enforcement of environmental policies and enhance coordination.
Government officials are eligible for the river chief position at the provincial, city, county and township levels, and heads of provincial regions are responsible for all rivers and lakes in the region.
The responsibilities of the river chiefs include water resource protection, pollution prevention and control, and ecological restoration. Their job performance is assessed and they will be held accountable for environmental damage in the bodies of water they oversee.
(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2017)