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Beijing's Neighbor Vows to Add to Wetland Reserves

Hebei Province, which encloses the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, has vowed to preserve more fragile wetland resources to guarantee a sustainable water supply.

The provincial forestry bureau said that it has planned to add 19 wetland reserves by 2015, or 600,000 ha. in total.

Hebei now has 1.1 million ha. of wetland preservation areas, accounting for 5.9 percent of its total land area. The province provides the key ecological shelter to replenish water for Beijing and protect the national capital from sandstorms coming out of the deserts in north China.

With Beijing's 2008 Olympics drawing near, water quality in Hebei Province is of vital importance to the national capital as 53 percent of the water in Miyun Reservoir, the largest storage facility in north China, comes from the province. Miyun Reservoir in turn provides one third of Beijing's drinking water.

Hebei has planned to invest heavily to protect water sources, and has given priority to wetland preservation as part of this project. The preservation of endangered wetland-prone animals such as swans, red -crowned cranes and squawks will also be emphasized, said a Hebei Province forestry official.

(Xinhua News Agency October 26, 2007)

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