Emergency Plan Urged for Three Gorges Dam

A top political adviser urged the government to have an emergency plan ready in case of serious water pollution accidents at the Three Gorges Dam.

"Otherwise, if petrochemical plants in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River have an explosion or leak, damage around the dam project will be much bigger than that in Northeast China's Songhua River last year," said Chen Jingqiu, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee yesterday.

Water already flows more slowly as the construction of the dam draws to a close and will slow down even more after the dam begins operations, according to Chen, a professor at Chongqing University in Southwest China.

With a length of 1,983 metres and a height of 185 metres, the dam is one of the biggest hydropower structures in the world and is a key part to developing the Yangtze River. Construction of the project will reportedly be completed in May.

In fact, water pollution caused by petrochemical plants at the upper reaches of the Yangtze River has occurred.

Caused by industrial waste water, a pollution accident happened two years ago along the Tuojiang River, a branch of the Yangtze, in Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Economic losses totalled 300 million yuan (US$37 million).

(China Daily March 7, 2006)

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