|China plans hefty investment to protect plateau lake|
XINING, July 31 (Xinhua) -- China has approved a conservation program for an inland plateau lake in northwest China's Qinghai province, local environmental protection authorities said Tuesday.
According to the program, which was approved earlier this month by the ministries of environmental protection and finance, 430 million yuan (68.3 million U.S. dollars) will be invested over three years to protect the environment of the Keluke Lake on the Qinghai plateau, the provincial environmental protection department said in a statement Tuesday.
The lake, located in the northeast of the Qaidam Basin, Haixi Mongol Tibetan autonomous prefecture, is the only freshwater lake in an ethnic minority prefecture as well as a major water conservation area in Qinghai, said the statement.
The lake covers 57.4 square kilometers and has been dubbed "Lovers' Lake," as birds migrate there in spring and summer to reproduce.
Local industrial development, population growth in the Tsaidam area and over-fishing in recent years have caused pollution in the lake as well as wetland degradation.
The newly approved project has eight smaller programs, including sewage treatment, wetland conservation and desertification control, said Yang Rukun, head of the bureau.