Educating Chinese Companies in Lake Restoration

14 April 2020

China has made considerable efforts and investments to improve the degraded ecological state of lakes, for example by reducing nutrient input from cities and farmland. Also, various in-lake measures have been taken, such as chemical treatment of sediments and interventions in the biological system. But how successful are the restoration efforts of China’s lakes?

According to Professor Liu Zhengwen from the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, there is room for major improvement. This is the reason why he and Professor Erik Jeppesen from Aarhus University organised the first Forum on Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration and Health at SDC.

To restore lakes successfully you need to understand the ecosystem, and many of the companies offering restoring solutions, need to be aware of this. When you do not understand the entire system, you cannot develop a holistic solution and risk making it even worse’, says Liu Zhengwen.

Symptom Treatment Only Works for a Short Time

Many companies take an engineering approach, and they offer solutions where they e.g. flush a lake or remove algae. But you cannot flush a lake and clean it as if it was a toilet. When you remove the existing algae, new algae will just appear.

It is not sufficient to just treat symptoms. That will only have an effect for a short time. You need the broad view to succeed, and our aim is to make companies and governments aware that this forum is the place to go to hear about different methods that actually work’, says Erik Jeppesen.

The topic for the first forum was how to control algae and how to prevent nutrient release from the bottom of the lake. 200 participants attended the forum, including professionals from Chinese companies, local government representatives, scientists and students within the academic field.