U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- China plans to spend nearly $4.8 billion to
prevent pollution in the Three Gorges area of the Yangtze River where
a giant dam is being built, the Xinhua news agency has said.
The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) announced
the government will fund a 10-year plan including building more than
260 waste-water treatment plants and 200 garbage treatment facilities
at the site, where the world's biggest hydroelectric station is to be
completed by 2009.
Facilities will also be built to collect waste from ships and 42
ecological protection projects will be carried out.
By 2010, most waste-water and garbage in the area and upstream
sections of the river will have to be treated before being
discharged, Xinhua said.
All enterprises that cause serious pollution in the upper reaches
of the river will be shut down by then, it said.
Millions of tons of garbage and industrial waste could seriously
affect the water quality and operation of the Three Gorges Dam if
clean-up measures are not taken immediately, SEPA official Liu Qifeng
Each year, the Three Gorges area and its upper reaches produce
6.58 million tons of garbage and 9.78 million tons of industrial
solid waste, China Daily said.
At least 30 million tons of industrial solid waste have piled up
on the banks of the river, it said.
Garbage and waste left untreated along the river will be submerged
if not cleaned away by the time the world's largest dam is scheduled
to be ready for water storage in 2003, Xinhua said.
"If the rubbish is left inside the reservoir, the pollution could
become worse and normal operation of the hydropower station will be
affected," Liu was quoted by the agency as saying.
By investing about 40 billion yuan, the central government will
help five provinces build water and garbage treatment facilities,
upgrade the pollution control facilities of factories, and improve
the environment, he said.
By 2010, there will be 146 wastewater disposal centers and 161
garbage treatment plants in cities and towns around the reservoir,
Paper mills, fertilizer plants, wineries, mines, and other heavy
polluters will be closed if they fail to meet the pollutant emission
standards set by the state, he said.
The upper reaches of the Yangtze River will be widely reforested
to keep the river clean, Liu said.
The Three Gorges, in central China, will become the world's
largest hydroelectric station. But the project, which requires the
relocation of more than 1.13 million people, has drawn widespread
criticism from environmental groups.
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