WildChina recently embarked on a series of initiatives to improve local practices in areas that we visit. This is the first of a three-part series examining efforts to improve life for those in rural Southwest China, and the technologies that enable a better standard of living.
Imagine a beautiful, rural, riverside village that serves as a living relic of China’s traditional agricultural history. Then imagine the trash and pollution that clouts this image – unmanaged sewage, outdated farming practices, and unsanitary living conditions, to name a few.
In China’s poor rural communities, scenes like this are all too common. However, organizations such as the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association (CURA), a Sichuan-based NGO, are working to change this by building sustainable development practices in these communities from the ground up. In one such community, CURA hopes to make a model of sustainable development that can be applied to similar rural areas of China. WildChina recently had the exciting opportunity to bring a group of school children from Beijing to engage in this endeavor, specifically to conduct water testing as well as improve water and sanitation technologies.
Located along the banks of the Zou Ma River (one of the Fu-Nan Rivers) near Chengdu, Anlong was once a community plagued by severe water pollution as a result of livestock, chemical fertilizer, and more. Although efforts in the mid-1990s cleaned up the rivers to some degree, the Fu-Nan Rivers Comprehensive Revitalization Project was not entirely effective. As such, communities like Anlong still needed help to rid themselves of pollution and contamination.
CURA has been working with the Anlong community to develop sustainable practices for farming, sanitation, and development.
According to CURA, the Anlong River Project is designed to strengthen environmental awareness and water conservation in rural communities that are up-stream from Chengdu in the main watersheds that feed the city’s waterways. The Program aims to reduce chemical infiltration and pollution into the river systems that feed into Chengdu’s rivers and form part of the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
Through the Anlong Village Project, Anlong ultimately will serve as a model for other rural communities looking to improve conditions and quality of life in a way that is beneficial for the environment and public health.
While in Anlong, WildChina’s student group focused on assessing and improving water quality and technologies. At the center of this initiative was the construction of ecologically-friendly toilets, as the sterilization process that occurs in these outlets affords two improvements to local life. Firstly, it can restore a natural cleansing system of the area’s water, allowing for local community members to preserve the pristine nature of some of the area’s most important water resources. Secondly, it allows human waste to be used as fertilizer, which can further bolster crops and prevent contamination from waste in food and water.
After learning about the Anlong community and its issues, testing and reporting on the local water quality, and building eco-friendly toilets, WildChina’s student group were proud to present completely new bathroom facilities to the village (shown above).
One eco-friendly toilet at a time, Anlong is evolving into an ecologically-sound, progressive, and sustainable community.