Project Locations: Shanghai

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Literally meaning ‘on the sea’, SHANGHAI is where the Yangtze River ends its 6300km journey across China by flowing into the East China Sea. Once a small fishing village, Shanghai is now the second most populous city in China and a major industrial and commercial centre. As one of the world’s largest seaports, the city is also an important gateway to foreign countries, contributing greatly to economic reform and the opening up of China.

For over two centuries the Yangtze has served as a transportation highway and commercial thoroughfare transporting goods and people between inner China and Shanghai. In addition to providing important infrastructure, the Yangtze is also one of the main sources of drinking water for the 20 million plus population. However, as the last stretch of the Yangtze River before entering the sea, the water running through Shanghai carries with it all the pollution gathered across China. As statistics show, the Yangtze is the largest source of marine pollution in the Pacific Ocean, it is therefore essential that efforts are made to clean up this stretch of the river, stop further pollution and protect local wildlife.

• Water School for a Living Yangtze Programme

In total more than 230 school activities have been carried out in 14 Water Schools in the Shanghai region, including: ‘A Study of the Huangpu River Basin’ by Yan’an Middle School; Huaping Primary School’s ecological activity to clean up the school’s pond; and ‘Old Streets of Shanghai – the impact of sewers on older residents’ by East China Normal University No. 2 Affiliated Middle School.

Among these schools is Sanlie Middle School on Chongming Island, who discovered that a waste pipe drained directly into the river. The school took action by contacting their local government to have the pipe relocated to a treatment plant, protecting the 274 bird species living on this island, 36 of which are under national protection.

• Community Education for Sustainable Development

Shangri-la Institute is also developing activities with local communities in Shanghai, many of which are in collaboration with the local Water Schools. Students have identified and prioritized water issues facing the local area and work with local community members to implement projects such as ‘Where the Yangtze Meets the Sea’ – a community costal co-management project on Chongming Island, and ‘Growing up in Cities’ – a project with Shanghai’s urban communities. Other activities include those with the local Baoshan community such as volunteer training, development and distribution of pamphlets, community lectures and discussions, quizzes, and a ‘Water and Life’ forum.

• Climate Change Education

Two schools are participating in Climate Change Education by organizing extra-curricular investigations and integrating climate change education into their curriculums in an aim to provide a green campus and education for students.

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified)