Numerous rivers and lakes crisscrossing Eryuan County in southwest China’s Yunnan Province make water the source of all lives. Known as “water village on the plateau,” the county is rich in natural resources. The 560 tributaries running across Eryuan are critical to the Erhai Lake protection.
Since 2015, the local government has invested 8.9 trillion yuan for pollution control and poverty alleviation in Eryuan County. The improved water quality enables the edible flower Ottelia acuminata to flourish and provides an extra income for the poverty-stricken families.
Li Guanli, a villager, not only plants Ottelia acuminata but also works as a cleaner. These two jobs earn her 7,000 yuan every year, and she can also get 9,900 yuan for land transfer and other part-time jobs. The improved environment and the flower have brought her and other villagers out of poverty.
Now, the annual output value of Ottelia acuminata in Eryuan County is 12 million yuan. In 2018, Eryuan County was no longer an impoverished county. The county was recognized as a demonstration county of ecological protection in 2019. The delicate flower has witnessed double changes over the years.
Go green and live rich
Ecological poverty alleviation is a poverty reduction model that combines ecological protection with poverty alleviation. Some areas suffer from poverty due to their harsh natural environment, while others lack sustainable and scientific ways to make use of natural resources. Through participation in ecological protection and development of ecological industries, villagers can be lifted out of poverty while protecting Mother Nature. This series not only uncovers the stories behind China’s poverty alleviation policy but also displays a portrait of ordinary people.
(Cover image designed by CGTN’s Chen Yuyang. Video edited by Zhao Ying.)
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