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An environmental cleanup is creating jobs and wealth in one of China"s least-developed provinces, as Yang Wanli and Yang Jun report from Guiyang.
Tan Wenzhong is a garbage collector, but rather than working on the streets, he spends his days on water.
Every day at 8 am, Tan boards his yellow boat and begins work. He collects garbage floating in the Nanming River, a tributary of the Yangtze River, that flows eastward through Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province.
For the past two decades, the river has been severely polluted by untreated domestic sewage from the homes of the city"s population of nearly 5 million.
"My home is near the Nanming. For about 10 years, we almost never opened the windows closest to the river. If we did, the stench that rose from the water smelled like a pit latrine that hadn"t been emptied for months," said Zhao Ze, 31, who lives with his parents in an apartment building built in the 1990s.
The water in the river once ran black as a result of pollution. In the early "90s many State-owned enterprises and government departments built or invested in real estate for their employees.
Those assigned apartments near the river were the most unfortunate, according to Tan, who recalled that at the turn of the century the river was full of trash, such as plastic bags, food containers and countless plastic water bottles.
"When I was young, the river was the source of drinking water for the local residents. Fish and egrets could always be seen, but they were quickly swept away by the pollution. In 2000, I cleaned about 1 metric ton of garbage from the river every day. I was astonished by the amount," the 53-year-old said.