Xinhua News Agency, Xining, April 1 (Reporter Liu Zexing) At 6 a.m., it was pitch black in Guoyang Village, Maduo Township, Qumalai County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. Because it is located on a plateau, although it is already April, the outdoor temperature here is still close to minus 6 degrees Celsius in the morning. Ba Song, a 55-year-old ecological guard, rode a motorcycle to Yueguzongliequ, one of the sources of the Yellow River, to start a two-day patrol.
The Yellow River is the mother river of the Chinese nation, with a total length of about 5,464 kilometers. It flows from west to east through nine provinces in my country, and finally flows into the Bohai Sea. One of its sources is in the Yueguzonglie Basin at the northern foot of the Bayan Har Mountains on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In 2021, after the official establishment of Sanjiangyuan National Park, it will be integrated into the Yellow River source park as a whole, and the “one household, one post” ecological management and protection public welfare post mechanism will become an important force for source protection.
Ba Song grew up by the Yellow River. Now, as an ecological guard, his job is to inspect whether there are behaviors that damage the water resources and fish at the source of the Yellow River, pick up garbage, record ecological changes, and publicize policies to local herdsmen.
On April 1, the “Yellow River Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China” was officially implemented, and the source protection of the Yellow River pressed the fast forward button.
“Summer is coming soon, and the number of people coming and going here has increased. In the past, some people came to the source of the Yellow River to release exotic fish species, which caused damage to the ecology.” Ba Song said, “We will stop this kind of behavior in time in the past. If there is no serious harm, Oral persuasion and education are the mainstay. Now that the Yellow River Protection Law is implemented, anyone who releases alien species in the Yellow River Basin and causes serious consequences can be fined from 100,000 yuan to 1 million yuan.”
On March 10, in Maduo Township, Qumalai County, Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, county-level supervisors, township-level administrators, and village-level fish guards are patrolling the Yellow River. (Photo provided by the interviewee)
At present, there are 3,142 ecological managers in the Yellow River Source Park, and many herdsmen have changed from ecological users to ecological guardians. “Compared with 2015, the areas of Zaling Lake and Ering Lake at the source of the Yellow River have increased by 74.6 square kilometers and 117.4 square kilometers respectively, and the number of lakes in Maduo County in the source area of the Yellow River has also increased from 4077 to 5849.” Gan Xuebin, full-time deputy secretary of the Management Committee of the Yellow River Source Park of Sanjiangyuan National Park, said.
Wu Haiyong, director of the Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement Supervision Bureau of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, said frankly that he has been looking forward to the day when the Yellow River Protection Law will be officially implemented.
“In the past, what we preached to the masses was mainly the local fishing ban policy, which lacked legal deterrence.” Wu Haiyong said, “The Yellow River Protection Law clearly prohibits activities such as mining, sand mining, fishing and hunting in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, and has detailed regulations on other illegal activities. With the regulations, we also have a starting point to carry out our work.”
What makes Wu Haiyong even more happy is that the Yellow River Protection Law stipulates that a law enforcement coordination mechanism should be established to carry out joint law enforcement in accordance with the law for cross-administrative regions, ecologically sensitive areas, and major illegal cases. “Similarly located in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, we plan to sign a cross-administrative law enforcement agreement on the Yellow River with the Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture this year, specifying that the two parties will conduct joint law enforcement every quarter, supervise and cooperate with each other, and form a long-term mechanism.” Wu Haiyong said.
On March 31, the staff was using the “Ecological Window” remote network video observation system to observe the ecological situation of the Qinghai section of the Yellow River Basin. (Photo provided by the interviewee)
In the front, there are ecological guards and law enforcement agencies to fully patrol the source ecology, and in the rear, there are information-based means to escort the Yellow River.
Walking into the Qinghai Provincial Ecological Environment Monitoring Center, the staff clicked the mouse, and the real-time observation pictures of the key river basins of the Yellow River, such as the source of the Yellow River, Eling Lake, the braided water system of the Yellow River in Dari County, and the Longyangxia Reservoir in Gonghe County, were displayed on the big screen. This is Qinghai’s “Ecological Window” remote network video observation system. Since the system was built in 2016, the number of observation points has been expanded from 6 to 76, enabling real-time observation of key watersheds in the Qinghai section of the Yellow River Basin.
In August last year, Qinghai Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment and Shandong Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment signed the “Strategic Cooperation Agreement on Promoting Ecological Protection and High-quality Development of the Yellow River Basin”. The ecological observation of the source of the Yellow River in Qinghai Province was shared with Shandong in real time. From the source of the Yellow River to the mouth of the sea, a joint mechanism for the ecological protection of the Yellow River has been established.
The relevant person in charge of the Qinghai Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment stated that in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Yellow River Protection Law, Qinghai Province will continue to build an ecological environment monitoring network for the Yellow River Basin in the next step, promote the analysis and application of ecological environment data, and serve the ecological environment supervision of key ecological function areas law enforcement.