[QODLink]
Archive
Three Gorges pollution nightmare
China’s biggest waterway is facing an unprecedented pollution crisis with the massive Three Gorges Dam threatening to devastate the Yangtze river, officials said on Thursday.
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2003 16:21 GMT

Unless things change, the Yangtze's
new reservoir will suffer terrible
pollution

China’s biggest waterway is facing an unprecedented pollution crisis with the massive Three Gorges Dam threatening to devastate the Yangtze river, officials said on Thursday.

Environment Minister Xie Zhenhua told journalists on World Environment Day that "there is a strong probability that the water quality will worsen in the [Three Gorges] reservoir."
     
Sluice gates on the Three Gorges hydro-electric project on the Yangtze river were shut last Sunday.

The projected 463 kilometre-long reservoir has since been forming behind the dam and water levels are set to rise to 135 metres by 15 June.

Pollution predictions

Behind the dam, the city of Chongqing and its municipality - with a population of approximately 30 million people - is likely to pour around 940 million tons of industrial waste water and 245 million tons of domestic sewage within the coming year into the expanding reservoir, according to the US Inland Rivers Network.

Only 28 percent of industrial and eight percent of urban domestic waste water from the city is treated, according to China’s 2002 Environmental Report.

China is spending the equivalent of $2.4 billion dollars in an effort to cut pollution in the reservoir and is building a series of water treatment plants, Zhenhua said.

Reservoir set to rise 135 metres
in 10 days

"Sixty percent of the factories in the cities around the reservoir will have water treatment plants by the end of June, while 100 percent will have them by the end of 2003," Zhenhua said.
  
But the city of Chongqing, some 600 kilometres up-river from the dam, is not expected to have water treatment facilities in place until the end of 2004, he added. 

When completed, the Three Gorges Dam will be the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

It will stretch nearly a mile across and tower 180 metres above the world's third longest river.

The creation of the reservoir has displaced close to 1.9 million people. Construction began in 1994 and is scheduled to take 20 years at a cost of over $24 billion.

Other river concerns

According to China's 2002 Environmental Report, an annual assessment issued on Thursday, water quality at 41 percent of monitoring stations along all Chinese rivers did not meet the nation's lowest grade.
  
Twenty-five percent of the water on the Yangtze failed to reach standards, while nearly 50 percent of the water inspected on the Yellow River did not make the lowest grade, the report said.
  
"The water quality in the Yellow River has worsened this year as the water levels in the river have reached the lowest in 50 years," Wang Jirong, vice minister of environment said.

Source:
Unspecified
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.