The Lake Dianchi basin is the most urbanized part of the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. The area has a population of 2.5 million and accounts for 30% of Yunnan’s GDP. Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, has a population of 1.8 million and lies within the basin. There are over 100 small towns in the Kunming area that are growing rapidly, resulting in deterioration of water quality, ecological degradation, growth of algae, and accelerated eutrophication of Lake Dianchi. Both central and provincial governments realize that it is urgent to prevent and control water pollution so as to maintain economic development that is environmentally sustainable. Yunnan Province and Kunming Municipality have developed plans for the prevention and control of pollution in the Lake Dianchi Watershed, but relatively little has been done to control pollution in the rural areas surrounding Kunming. Controlling waste and pollution in towns will directly impact pollution in the lake, as villages and townships are main sources of non-point pollution.
In July 2002, with the support of Pure Earth, the Yunnan Environmental Protection Bureau (YEPB) launched a pilot program in the village of Fubao to identify innovative methods for identifying sources of pollution and local reduction strategies. The goal has been to incorporate these methods into town development planning involving the Village Committee and other stakeholders. Once their effectiveness is demonstrated, these ‘best practices’ can be incorporated into the development planning of other small towns in the area and thus provide a basis for sound environmental management. Currently in its second phase of implementation, this project will now seek to introduce cleaner production concepts to local industry, decrease the ecological impact of agriculture surrounding Lake Dianchi, and design a viable domestic wastewater and solid waste management strategy for Fubao Village.
The Yunnan Environment Protection Bureau has been working with the village committee of Fubao village, situated just outside the provincial capital of Kunming, to develop a composting and dual waste collection system to reduce pollution from agricultural chemicals into nearby Lake Dianchi. Through this recently completed Pure Earth funded project, which over 70% of village households are participating in, the amount of waste that has to be sent to landfill has been reduced by around 40%, as well as decreases in the amount of chemical fertilizers being used.