Construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, recently approved by the Chinese government, will not bring "ecological disasters" to the project area, a senior Chinese engineer said.
On the contrary, the project will play a key role in protecting the ecological environment on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, said Ran Li, chief engineer with the No.1 Survey and Design Institute under the Ministry of Railways (MOR).
The 1,180-kilometer railway, the first linking the Tibet Autonomous Region with the rest of China, will extend from Lhasa in Tibet to Golmud in Qinghai Province, northwest China. It will be the longest and most elevated railway built on highlands in the world.
Ran said that the claim that the railway will bring "ecological disasters" to Qinghai and Tibet is totally groundless.
Ran said that to find ways for constructing railways on earth that has been frozen for a long time, his institute and the Northwest Branch of the Science Research Institute, affiliated with the MOR, has launched a series of experiments and research onthe Qinghai-Tibet Plateau since the 1960s.
They have amassed a lot of experience for building the Qinghai-Tibet railway and found ways to protect the local eco-system during the process of the project, Ran said.
According to Ran, they conducted experiments in areas with an elevation of 4,750 meters, building roadbed, bridges, houses and water supply and drainage systems. A "green belt" will be built along the planned railway, Ran said.
More than 960 kilometers, or over four-fifths of the railway will be built at an altitude of over 4,000 meters. And more than half of it will be laid on earth that has been frozen for a long period of time.
Ran said, based on their experiments, they have worked out measures to protect frozen earth during the process of the project.
To protect animal and plant resources in the Hoh Xil, Qiangtang and other nature reserves in the area, more bridges and passages for animals will be built on the section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway in the nature reserve zones, Ran added.
More measures are to be taken to keep a clean environment along the railroad, such as closed passenger trains will be arranged on the rail line, and the garbage on the trains will be treated in designated places.
Ran held that China has mastered the technologies to build railways on highlands and on earth that has been frozen for a longtime, adding they are sure that no damage will be inflicted on local environment.
Ran said, people who live in the area along the soon-to-be-constructed railway mainly burn timber and animal manure to cook meals and for other daily life purposes, which is detrimental to local fragile ecological environment.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway, upon completion, is to play a very important role in protecting environment on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, as it can serves major passage through which coal, petroleum and other energy resources can be transported into Tibet from northwest China, Ran said.