Sanmenxia: from industrial base to city of swans
Sanmenxia of Henan province is known as the "city of swans" as its nature reserves attract over 10,000 white swans during their annual winter migration, more than half of the total national number.
The city also attracts loads of vacationers and sightseers, perhaps few of whom would imagine that the ecological and livable city used to be an industrial center.
Known for its abundant reserves of gold, bauxite and coal, the city was always an important base for metal production and energy development with industry accounting for 67 percent of its economy.
However, long-term exploitation of the resources had posed a serious threat to the ecological security of the city just as the international financial crisis at the start of this century led to a sharp drop in product prices.
Citizens gradually caught up with those two grim realities and decided to make some changes before another brutal crash.
One basic solution was industrial transformation and upgrading. The city started to actively develop emerging manufacturing and service industries featuring high technology and high growth potential.
Another solution lay in the general improvement of its environment, with each resident of Sanmenxia bearing in mind that fast economic growth at the expense of massive energy consumption and environmental degradation is not sustainable. The city turned its focus to ecological agriculture. Fruit-bearing forests and pastures have added new colors to the city and ecological agriculture now contributes over 60 percent to the peasants' income.
Today Sanmenxia boasts a sound ecology with a forest coverage rate of 50.7 percent, the highest in Henan province. Four national forest parks and six provincial forest parks mark it as an ecological tourist city.
The city has made great efforts to keep the white swans that are sensitive to air and water quality. A period of protection has been set up for the swans coming here to winter from October to March. All sewage treatment plants have been moved away from the creatures and a special fund has been established to provide food for them.
Regulations for the protection of white swans and their habitat were implemented on Nov 1,2017, an important milestone for Sanmenxia as it seeks to intensify their conservation and preserve its reputation as the "City of Swans".