The 2,500 year old city of Suzhou, located in Jiangsu Province near Shanghai in China, is known for its canals, rivers, lakes, bridges and UNESCO World Heritage site gardens. This “Venice of the East” is home to more than 13 million people and played an important part in the rise of textile factories and the shipping trade in the 1920s. But with this industrialisation came pollution: by 1970, Suzhou Creek became known as the most polluted waterway in the country.
Over the past decade, the Jiangsu government has invested in major efforts to clean up the river. Now, a new fleet of electric workboats powered by Torqeedo motors have been deployed to scoop and remove floating rubbish from the water. Torqeedo is a German manufacturer and the market leader for electric outboards.
The Suzhou River Management Administration commissioned 177 environmentally friendly electric boats, designed and built by China Ship Scientific Research Center. These include 18 nine-meter steel catamarans, 22 seven-meter steel catamarans and 137 5–6-meter wooden boats.
China is taking environmental clean-up seriously and is at the forefront of adopting electric propulsion to reduce air and water pollution.
—Christoph Ballin, Torqeedo CEO
While China may continue to employ river chiefs and press for more stringent laws on polluting factories, this could take a while to enforce. In the meantime, it’s good to see local governments tackling waterway pollution with measures such as these electric workboats.
Written By: Adriane Rysz