The project aims to promote environmentally sustainable and socioeconomically inclusive urban development in Huangshi, Hubei Province, by upgrading urban environmental infrastructure and services. The project will support wastewater management, lake rehabilitation, sludge treatment, solid waste management, and related urban environmental services.
The project is located in Huangshi, southeastern Hubei Province, 80 kilometers (km) southeast of Wuhan, the provincial capital. The city is spread over floodplain on the south bank of the Yangtze River, having developed around three lakes: Cihu, Qingshan, and Qinggang. In 2010, the population of the municipality was 2.43 million, with 765,000 living in the urban area. Huangshi's initial development was based on mining, and its associated secondary industries have driven the city's economic development. Resource depletion and the need for more balanced and sustainable development prompted the Huangshi municipal government (HMG) to renew the city by upgrading its industry, relocating polluting industries outside of the central urban area, and developing tertiary industries and an enabling investment environment. This will help Huangshi strengthen its development potential as a core secondary city in Hubei Province, supporting balanced regional development in the province. Huangshi is a part of the "Wuhan+8 megacity cluster," which the government promotes as a pilot administrative zone for balanced, environment-friendly economic development within the cluster.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Huangshi faces environmental and urban development challenges reflecting its historical reliance on heavy industry and inadequate investment in urban infrastructure. General neglect of urban pollution allowed untreated industrial and domestic wastewater to flow into urban lakes. The city's solid waste management is inadequate and the sludge from wastewater treatment plants is untreated. Urban channels and lakes are blocked by polluted sediments and accumulated solid waste. The three lakes in the city became polluted and degraded, endangering public health and safety, particularly for the poor who often live near polluted inland waterways and in areas with deficient urban services. Inadequate urban infrastructure constrains sustainable urban development and limits Huangshi's ability to promote investment and support balanced regional development in Hubei.
Wastewater. An estimated 131,000 cubic meters (m3) of untreated urban wastewater is discharged daily into the city's three lakes and the Yangtze River. The project will support the rehabilitation and extension of the existing wastewater network system to remove misconnections and intercept urban wastewater more effectively, thereby improving collection efficiency and mitigating pollution loads into water bodies downstream. The project will also support the construction of a new wastewater collection and treatment system to serve the newly developed urban area of Hexi.
Lake. Water quality in Huangshi's three lakes is severely polluted, to class V or worse. The lakes are affected by organic pollution, nutrients, and heavy metals. Sediments are highly contaminated with heavy metals, particularly near discharge points into lakes. The project will support an integrated multifunctional approach to lake improvement that removes contaminated sediments, constructs engineered wetlands and lake embankments, and interconnects urban water bodies. These interventions are designed to (i) improve water quality, (ii) restore lake ecology and healthy hydraulic circulation, (iii) improve the lakes' retention capacity and resilience under climate change, and (iv) enhance public amenity.
Sludge. The project will tackle the emerging environmental challenge of handling the sludge generated in greater quantities as wastewater collection and treatment expands. At present, untreated sludge is dumped directly to the municipal landfill. While supporting the treatment system for contaminated sludge in the short term, the project will help the HMG develop a mid- and long-term strategic plan to reduce sludge production, stabilize its content, and find beneficial uses for it.
Solid waste. Challenges facing solid waste management in Huangshi are (i) inefficient collection and transfer facilities, (ii) excessive waste generated without sorting or recycling, and (iii) inadequate disposal capacity for the volume. While the HMG will expand the capacity of disposal facilities to meet future demand, the project will upgrade the existing collection and transfer system to enhance collection efficiency to comply with environmental standards, build new collection and transfer stations to serve an expanded urban area, and pilot a sorting and recycling scheme with community participation to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste.
Strategic fit and lessons learned. The project will help Huangshi (i) promote environmentally sustainable urban development; (ii) improve living conditions by providing better urban services and a cleaner environment to urban residents, including the poor; and (iii) enhance inclusive socioeconomic growth with expanded tertiary industries, an attractive investment environment, and more employment. By promoting sustainable and environment-friendly urban development, the project aligns with the PRC's Twelfth Five-Year Plan, 2011-2015 and ADB's country partnership strategy for the PRC. It promotes economic growth that is environmentally sustainable and inclusive, in line with ADB's Strategy 2020. It contributes to Millennium Development Goal 7 by improving sanitation. It conforms with ADB's Water Operational Plan, which encourages expanded wastewater management and integrated water resource management. It builds on ADB's experience and lessons from previous projects in Hubei and other projects for urban development, water resource management, and development in small and medium-sized cities, as well as from knowledge generated in policy-oriented studies on lake rehabilitation and sludge treatment.
Demonstration features. The project will (i) demonstrate an integrated approach to urban pollution control and environmental management that combines reducing upstream pollution loads by rehabilitating and extending wastewater and solid waste systems with improving downstream water quality by rehabilitating lake ecology and hydraulic circulation, which will significantly improve water quality in the three lakes; (ii) analyze the cumulative impact of pollution loads and modeling of surface water circulation to support the design of the project; and (iii) pilot a scheme for solid waste sorting and recycling with community participation that will show, albeit on a small scale, the reduce-reuse-recycle approach. The pilot scheme will be replicated in other communities in Huangshi. The project also has great potential to become a model of integrated pollution control and ecological rehabilitation applicable to polluted and blocked urban lakes in other small and medium-sized cities along the Yangtze and elsewhere in the PRC.