BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (27 September 2018) — The Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $150 million loan for a project that will improve municipal solid waste (MSW) management in 10 counties and county-level cities in the Xiangjiang River watershed in Hunan Province. The project is the first to focus solely on MSW management in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
ADB’s assistance supports the PRC government’s Yangtze River Economic Belt Development Plan, 2016–2030, which prioritizes ecological protection and the promotion of green development in the longest and one of the most important rivers in the country.
“We expect this project to provide an example for other areas of how to implement good municipal solid waste management,” said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist for East Asia Mr. Alan Baird. “The Xiangjiang River is key to the lives of millions of people so making sure that it remains clean is crucial, not only for their health but also for the long-term prosperity and the well-being of this culturally significant area.”
The Hunan Xiangjiang River Watershed Existing Solid Waste Comprehensive Treatment Project, which directly benefits around 6.9 million people living around the watershed, will finance the establishment of a best-practice urban-rural MSW management system in seven project areas. This involves a pilot initiative to construct MSW collection and transfer stations in support of the Province of Hunan’s strategy for integrated MSW management. Facilities in four sanitary landfills in the area will also be upgraded including the expansion of leachate treatment infrastructure, enhancement of site drainage, and upscaling of landfill cover.
Additionally, the project will assist the city government of Yongzhou in establishing a kitchen waste treatment management system for commercial facilities as well as provide the training for staff in the operation and maintenance of the system. Part of the capacity development component of the project is the support in the preparation of studies on MSW policies and best practice to guide future investments, particularly in landfill management and engineering, in Hunan.
The total cost of the project is $258 million, with the PRC government providing $108 million in financing. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2023.
The Xiangjiang River and its watershed are part of the larger Dongting Lake watershed, which are both integral elements of the downstream Yangtze River watershed especially for water security in the nearby municipalities and counties. With a total area of about 94,660 square kilometers, the areas surrounding the Xiangjiang River watershed are home to about 25.1 million people or approximately 61% of Hunan’s total population. However, increasing solid and industrial waste dumped in the river coupled with limited environmental protection efforts and substandard landfill sites have deteriorated its health, with the PRC government saying that water along most reaches of the Xiangjiang River do not meet water quality standards.
The Yangtze River Economic Belt accounts for over 40% of the PRC’s population and 40% of the country’s freshwater resources, serving drinking water for 400 million people and contributing 45% of the country’s economic output. As integral parts of the Yangtze River watershed, Xiangjiang River’s water quality and cleanliness is crucial in the PRC’s water security and environmental protection efforts.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.