From the organisation of the plant research institute to the establishment, Lu Lingxi didn’t worry much; it was completely arranged by Yan Yue. In fact, in Fengcheng’s horticultural circles, this matter didn’t stir up any big splashes, except for the addition of the name of the institution on the website description of Luxuan Gardening. Xue Yongtong originally wanted to make a lot of publicity, but was suppressed by Yan Yue. Seeing that Yan Yue didn’t want to be too high-profile, Xue Yongtong could only choose to compromise.
After the plant research institute was established, Yan Yue talked to Xue Yongtong about the mutated eelgrass. Xue Yongtong was keenly aware of the economic and environmental value of the plant, but he was so focused on his cooperation with Gao Yongliang that he couldn’t spare any energy for researching the mutated eelgrass, so he had to politely decline Yan Yue’s offer. Yan Yue didn’t care about this; the so-called cooperation was just a cover for Lu Lingxi’s panel, and it didn’t matter if Xue Yongtong was involved in the research midway, as long as the signboard of Luxuan Gardening was put up at the end. However, he took the initiative to mention this to Xue Yongtong, and Xue Yongtong had to accept this favour from him no matter what.
Within two days, Xue Yongtong sent Yan Yue two black pagoda bonsai. Yan Yue put one in 301 and one in 202. Lu Lingxi was amused to see that this kind of bonsai was so different from the large plants cultivated by Tiny Garden. It was an ornamental bonsai specially cultivated and produced, which was worth much more than his plants. However, Lu Lingxi was a little confused as to why Xue Yongtong had suddenly remembered to give Yan Yue a gift.
Yan Yue didn’t mention all the twists and turns behind the scenes, but simply stated lightly, “Xue Yongtong heard that I had moved next door to Xiao Xi and gave it as a housewarming gift.”
Lu Lingxi had no doubts about this statement at all. Yan Yue and Xue Yongtong had been in touch a lot recently, and they had set up a plant research institute together, so giving two bonsai as a housewarming gift made perfect sense. After looking at the bonsai for a while, Lu Lingxi focused on the plants in the backyard again.
Recently, his life had been very regular. Every day he went to work at Tiny Garden, and at night he came home to take care of the plants in the backyard. Apart from the eelgrass and the victoria, the donglingcao that he secretly split from Su Lang’s was also kept at home. These plants were growing well, although neither the mutated eelgrass nor the mutated donglingcao showed any signs of evolution; but Lu Lingxi was in no hurry, watering, fertilising and recording their growth status as usual.
Apart from taking care of these plants, Lu Lingxi also had one more thing to do every day after returning from the plant nursery. He insisted on calling the city’s Environmental Protection Bureau to report the plastic processing plant in Songjia Village for indiscriminately discharging toxic waste water. When Yan Yue saw how serious he was, he privately approached Ye Cheng to mention the matter.
Since the new mayor took office, Fengcheng’s main policy agenda was environmental protection. A plastic processing plant far from the city was insignificant, but it still could squeeze into the scope. Despite having a lot of work to do, Ye Cheng took note of this small factory mentioned by Yan Yue and gave a special order to investigate.
With Ye Cheng on his side, Yan Yue didn’t pay much attention to this matter anymore. Both he and Ye Cheng felt that it was almost inevitable that the plastic factory would be shut down and reorganised. But it was almost the end of October, and the plastic factory was still open, still discharging waste water into the Lingshui River every day.
Lu Lingxi also insisted on making a phone call every day, and finally, after he called again, the Environmental Protection Bureau gave him the feedback that they had sent someone to Songjia Village to check and understand the situation. If Lu Lingxi’s report was true, the plastic factory would be required to shut down as soon as possible. Lu Lingxi was happy and hung up the phone to tell Yan Yue about it. Yan Yue smiled in front of him and praised Lu Lingxi for a long time, but when he turned away, he frowned slightly.
It had been almost half a month since Ye Cheng ordered this matter to be dealt with, and the Environmental Protection Bureau had only given its feedback today. Half a month of prevarication and wrangling, it was clear that the new mayor’s environmental protection policy was not progressing smoothly in Fengcheng. But on second thought, this was normal. What the new mayor wanted was political achievements, and what the people below him wanted was profit. Fengcheng was already a heavy industrial city, with steel mills, plastic processing plants and porcelain factories abound around the city. If all of these were overhauled, Fengcheng’s economy would probably go down the drain.
Lu Lingxi didn’t think as much as Yan Yue; he simply thought that after the plastic processing factory was closed for rectification, without the discharge of waste water, the toxic substances in the Lingshui River would be reduced a bit. As long as the rate of soil purification exceeded the rate of pollution, the purified land would continue to expand towards the Lingshui River and would not remain standing still.
Three days after receiving the feedback from the Environmental Protection Bureau, Lu Lingxi received a call from Uncle Li. Uncle Li said that he didn’t know who had reported it but the plastic processing plant upstream seemed to have stopped working. Although the river was still a “black water river”, as long as the plastic processing plant stopped discharging waste water, the river would be clear again one day. However, there was another problem: the people of Songjia Village suspected that their village had reported the incident, and a group of people came to their village to make trouble.
“Is everything alright?” Lu Lingxi hurriedly asked.
“It’s fine.” Uncle Li said proudly, “A bunch of little brats came to make trouble and were blocked by the village people at the entrance of the village. Then Song Laosan came to make amends and apologised, and the matter was over.”
Song Laosan was referring to Song Wancai, the village head of the Songjia Village. Compared to Li Dayong, the head of Lingshui Village, Song Wancai was much more enterprising. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have opened a plastic factory in his village.
Songjia Village, Lingshui Village and Shigouhe, these three villages were located not too far apart. Among them, Shigouhe was the furthest away from the city, but its development was the best. As there was not much land beyond Shigouhe, Qiu Tian and Xue Yongtong both contacted this village to build their plant nurseries there, which also solved the employment problem of the villagers. Lingshui Village was sandwiched between Shigouhe and Songjia Village, with few people and little land, and the village head, Li Dayong, had little ambition, so the village lived quite a sloppy life. The head of Songjia Village, Song Wancai, was the most active, so he tossed and turned and set up a plastic processing factory in the village.
Don’t underestimate this factory; although it was small in scale, it solved almost all of Songjia Village’s employment problems. Since the opening of the factory, the men of Songjia had been given an extra job, driving tricycles every day to collect discarded plastic bottles from the surrounding villages and towns. They collected and sold them to the factory for 10 fen (0.1 yuan) a piece, and if they were diligent they could earn as much as 100 yuan a day. The women of the village all went to work in the factory, cutting and washing bottles, and they could earn 3,000 to 4,000 a month. This way, the income of the whole village went up, and Song Wancai was so happy that he couldn’t care less about the pollution of the Lingshui River.
Li Dayong approached Song Wancai several times about the discharge of the waste water, but Song Wancai either avoided seeing him or cried about poverty in front of Li Dayong. Is the Lingshui River important or is the livelihood of the villagers important? Without money, where can the school fees for the children come from? Who will pay for the rice and noodles? Does it cost money to buy medicine for a headache or a fever? Seeing that the people in Songjia live a good life, why does Li Dayong come here? It’s just a river, what, can’t Lingshui Village live without it?
Li Dayong couldn’t say anything to Song Wancai, so he would come back with a sigh every time. But he didn’t want to report it; they were all locals and he didn’t want to tear his face off with Songjia. This time, the plastic factory was shut down and Li Dayong, happy at heart, also couldn’t help muttering: which brat reported it?