Tang Zhihong (male), born in December, 1976, is the river chief of Tiankeng River in Pingshan District, Shenzhen. Since 2017 when he started to serve as the river chief, he has patrolled the river for more than 30,000 hours in total, has reported and prevented pollution discharge over 20 times, and has discouraged misbehaviors such as doing washing, swimming or fishing in the river for more than 600 times.
He has won some honors: the Most Beautiful Ecological Environmental Protection Volunteer in China, the Top 10 Most Beautiful Civil River (Lake) Chief in Guangdong province and the Top 10 Outstanding Voluntary River Chief, etc.
Host: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the online talk show，Popular Eco-People. I’m the host, Guo Zhifu. Civil river chief was created when ecological civilization construction was greatly promoted, and it has given people a new social responsibility. Today, our guest, Mr. Tang Zhihong is a civil river chief. What environmental protection story will he tell us? Let’s welcome Mr. Tang.
Tang Zhihong: Hello, everyone!
Host: Welcome to Popular Eco-People, Mr. Tang. Why and how did you start to protect the environment?
Tang Zhihong: I started to do charity so long ago, and I have always paid close attention to environmental protection. But it was in 2017 when Shenzhen Communist Youth League Committee held the voluntary activity named “Rivers’ Future, Everyone’s Responsibility”, that I devoted myself to environmental protection. At that time, I took an active part in ecological environmental protection.
Host: In 2017, to respond that activity positively, you established the Longtian voluntary riverkeeper team, and served as the chief of the Tiankeng River in Pingshan District. So what does river protection mean to you?
Tang Zhihong: River Protection is to contribute to our society. Water is the source of life, so if the water quality is bad, people’s health will be affected. Since the establishment of our riverkeeper team, we have over 18,000 river patrolling volunteers in total. Besides, we have uploaded over 56,000 photos and have reported to the water sector fishing, swimming, sewage discharge, rubbish dumping in the river and other problems for more than 600 times.
Host: In the process of patrolling the river, you have summed up the experience called "see, smell, photograph and upload ". Could you share it with us in detail?
Tang Zhihong: Sure. First of all, we should see if there is any garbage in the river, and whether the color of river water is muddy and dark. Second, smell the river water and judge whether it stinks or not. Third, take photographs of the river's distant and close views. And fourth, upload the location and river photos to "Pingshan River Protection Volunteer WeChat Group". If we find that sewage or garbage needs to be treated, we will @the staff of the Environmental Protection and Water Conservancy Department within the WeChat group. There are river course cleaners, people in charge of river course as well as district, street, and community leaders in the group. So as long as our river protection volunteers send the photos to the group, the river course cleaners will immediately deal with the problem once they are found. In this way, we can achieve timely detection and timely processing. Relatively speaking, this series of methods are easy to learn and easy to operate.
Host: So for most ordinary citizens like me, what can we do to protect the river?
Tang Zhihong: I think there are many things we can do. To start from every bit is to make a big contribution to society. For example, do not throw garbage into the river and do not pour dishwashing water directly into the river. And children should not go to the river to bathe and swim. If you are interested, you can also set up a river protection team with the support of relevant departments. Everyone must have an awareness of environmental protection and all take action to make environmental protection a habit in life.
Host: Do you have any other stories or experiences about environmental protection you would like to share with us?
Tang Zhihong: During the service, we got a lot of support, attention, and praise from the citizens, which made us very warm. I remember once we take a tour of the river in a group, volunteers found that there were a large number of abandoned shared bicycles in the Xiapo section of the Longgang River. After we all confirmed that it was safe, we went down to the river and picked up the shared bicycles. After seeing it, the people on the riverbank said to us: “You guys are awesome. These bicycles have been thrown in the river for some time. Thanks to you. I will also be a river protection volunteer in the future." On another occasion, we found that the excavator had broken the sewage pipe during the construction of a factory, and the sewage had been directly discharged into the river channel. We immediately took photos and uploaded them to the volunteer group, and then reported to the Environmental Protection and Water Conservancy Department. The staff of the department promptly came to the scene to check the situation and found the person in charge of construction for repair in no time, which effectively prevented the occurrence of a pollution expansion incident.
Host: How did you feel when you learned that you had won the honor of “The Most Beautiful Ecological and Environmental Protection Volunteer in China” awarded by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the central civilization office in June 2019?
Tang Zhihong: I was very happy because it’s an affirmation and encouragement to me as an environmental volunteer. Meanwhile, it is a responsibility as well. Next I will continue to focus on the river protection and contribute to the construction of ecological civilization.
Host: As the saying goes, “The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.” What do you think has brought you through so many years of environmental protection and public benefit activities?
Tang Zhihong: It’s a big harvest. Now, the riverway is clean and the water in the river is clear with more fish. There are more and more birds as well.
Host: The Popular Eco-People has long dreamed of sharing the ecological stories or experiences of environmentalists from all over the world to more people. So could you say a few words to our program?
Tang Zhihong: OK. I hope that all of us will take actions to protect the environment and the homeland we live in. Although the Popular Eco-People has just been established, it is a platform with a sense of responsibility and a gathering place for environmentalists. I hope it will get better and better.
Host: Before making use of local resources, we should protect the environment. We appreciate Mr. Tang’s contribution to the green mountains and clear waters in China and his efforts to deepen the concept of ecological environmental protection in the hearts of more citizens. Let’s thank Tang Zhihong again for his wonderful sharing with warm applause. I’m Guo Zhifu, the host of the Popular Eco-People. That’s all for today. See you next time.