Along with some brave local officials, one mayor in China took a dive in the river that had previously been declared too polluted for anyone to swim in.
Mayor Li Zhonghua of Yongcheng in Henan Province earned praises from Chinese netizens for fulfilling a promise he made in transforming a filthy river into a much cleaner one. According to Shanghaiist, the eco-conscious politician even volunteered to be the first one to take a dive to show his confidence in the cleaning efforts that he initiated.
Zhonghua made a commitment to clean the narrow river last year when he saw how polluted the river got, according to Xinhua. He promised to start a cleanup project that would deliver within a year.
“I will come back next year and test the anti-pollution efforts with my own body by swimming in it,” he was quoted as saying.
He then set up an anti-pollution headquarters which handled multiple tasks such as sewage renovation, tree-planting, and improving the river bed with rocks and concrete planks. In the span of one year, his clean up team cleared 11,000 square meters of sludge and demolished over 280 toilets and illegal structures along the banks.
After braving the waters with six local officials, Zhonghua declared his mission accomplished in a photo posted on social media on Tuesday.