The river Suzhou Creek, which flows through the city to Shanghai, was once the most contaminated waterways in China. However, over the past decade, the river has undergone a major transformation and is an acclaimed environmental success story.

In line with the plan, the Suzhou River Management Administration specified electric-powered boats for the project because of their environmentally friendly footprint and selected German manufacturer Torqeedo as the supplier of electric motors for the boats.

The company has now completed outfitting the entire fleet, which includes 18 nine-meter steel catamarans, 22 seven-meter steel catamarans and 137 five/six-meter wooden boats.

The boats were designed and built by China Ship Scientific Research Center. They are owned by the Suzhou River Management Administration and operated by private contractors. The vessels use specially designed equipment to scoop up and capture floating items in the water.

Christoph Ballin, CEO of Torqeedo, stated:

China is taking environmental cleanup seriously and is at the forefront of adopting electric propulsion to reduce air and water pollution.

Marine pollution has been a key area of concern for China. According to the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, 10 rivers in Asia and Africa account for 95% of the world's ocean plastic pollution, five of which flow through China.

The country has imposed several measures to tackle the problem. Earlier in 2018, the Chinese Government implemented stricter controls on waste importation by adding a substantial number of solid waste types to the list of banned wastes which cannot be imported into China without a license.