Dressed in life jackets and carrying rods with fishing nets, local volunteers boarded boats at the Chaoshang Dock and sailed to the sea. They're going to clean up the floating trash in the Inner Bay.

Recently, the city has organized a volunteer activity to clean floating trash at the Inner Bay and promote environmental protection.

Wu Yiqiang, a staffer with the Shantou Blue Sky volunteer association, is one of the volunteers. A few years ago, the association launched a project, named the "Green Boat" project, to clean floating trash in the city's waters, and Wu has been in charge of the project ever since.

According to Wu, the Inner Bay is the estuary for the Hanjiang, Rongjiang and Lianjiang rivers, and the water condition of the rivers greatly influences that of the bay. Floating trash includes water lettuce as well as plastic garbage.

"If the floating trash is not cleaned up in time, it'll be carried by the waves to areas boats can't easily access, and the cleanup will get more difficult," said Wu.

In less than two hours, Wu's boat fished out nearly 50 kilograms of trash. Apart from plastic trash, there were also used fishing tools such as fishing nets.

Wu was born and bred in Shantou. As he remembered, the water at the Meixi River, a branch of Hanjiang River, used to be crystal clear. But as the city developed, the river gradually got polluted.

Wu said that more than a half of Shantou citizens' drinking water is from the Meixi River, so the water quality of the river is critical to citizens' safety.

According to Wu, the cleanup, which generally includes four or five volunteers, starts from the floodgate of the Meixi River and ends at the estuary at Shantou Port. Their work is a supplement to professional cleanup teams as big cleanup ships cannot get close to docks and banks.

Meanwhile, the city's volunteers are acting positively to clean the beaches. Last year, two volunteer associations collaborated with environmental protection organizations in China to collect garbage on beaches and monitor the environment of the coastlines for further research.

(Source: Shantou Daily)