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How to Maintain Quality Water in Three Gorges Area?
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The Minister for State Environmental Protection Administration, Xie Zhenhua, Thursday addressed a press conference in Beijing, and explained the government's policies to adopt control of pollution and guarantee water quality in the Three Gorges reservoir.

At the press conference sponsored by the State Council Information Office, he released the 2002 Report on China's Environmental Status.

According to Xie, China has set up a water-quality monitoring network for the Yangtze River valley and began to monitor water quality on May 25. Till Wednesday, the monitoring results showed that the quality of the reservoir water had no big changes, but the pollution of fecal Escherichia coli is serious, especially in the water from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. It is still the important work to build sewage treatment plants and solve the problem of daily rubbish, especially human excrement and urine.

Xie said that in order to solve these problems, China has adopted many effective measures and they are:

First, a reservoir pollution-preventing plan has been implemented for more than two years. So far, all counties in the reservoir area have begun to build garbage treatment plants and sewage disposal plants, amongst which 60 percent of the sewage disposal plants will go into operation this month. By the end of this year, except ones in Chongqing (due to funding shortages), all sewage disposal plants in the reservoir area will have been put into operation. By the end of next year, with two of the biggest sewage disposal plants in Chongqing being put into use, all areas above county level will settle the problem of sewage disposal.

During this period, those towns which may directly pollute the water in the reservoir must build garbage treatment plants and sewage disposal plants also. Such projects are now under way in the upper reaches of the reservoir with some 5 billion yuan already invested. The total investment is designed to reach 20 billion yuan.

Second, after water is stored in the reservoir, the water quality in the caudal regions of the reservoir -- a dead water area and water-control area -- will possibly turn out to be worse. Therefore, it is necessary to implement water-purifying projects in these areas so as to avoid severe pollution in these regions.

Third, ships are the main cause of oil pollution in the Yangtze River, especially in the reservoir area. A specific legislation has been jointly enforced by transportation authorities and local shipping authorities. At the same time, ships are asked to adopt some measures to reduce oil pollution and rubbish dumping.

Fourth, floating garbage has appeared on the river. The long-range resolution is to build garbage treatment facilities. At present, all over the drainage areas of the Yangtze River, including both the countryside and the cities, people are used to piling garbage beside the river to be flushed away by flooding, so only by building garbage treatment facilities in cities and towns as well as on the river's upper reaches, can the problem be settled completely. Present measures artificially retrieve the garbage from the water. Some big cities also have special retrieving equipment.

( June 5, 2003)

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