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China Expedites Toxic Waste Removal in Three Gorges Reservoir Area
The Environmental Protection Bureau of Chongqing Municipality announced on Friday that residents of the Three Gorges reservoir area are expediting the removal of toxic waste.

To date, 10,753.9 tons of toxic waste, or 73.4 percent of the total, has been treated and removed, while 14 of the 15 sources of dangerous radiation have been dismantled and removed.

The toxic waste discharged from chemical plants and laboratories mainly consists of waste acid, waste alkali and chromic residue. Chemical elements such as lead, mercury, arsenic and zinc are also present.

Zhang Yong, deputy director of the Environmental Protection Bureau, warned that if the chemical waste is not eliminated in time, the noxious elements could enter the water supply once the reservoir begins to fill.

This would obviously pose serious health risks to residents since the toxic elements would accumulate in the blood, marrow and nervous system. The elimination of this waste is therefore an urgent priority, Zhang added.

Some counties and districts, such as Yunyang and Wushan have done more than their share of the removal, while Wanzhou has cleaned up 91.18 percent of its waste and Fengdu County has completed 75.62 percent of its task.

Fuling has removed 7000.34 tons of toxic waste, or 63.64 percent of its total.

Meanwhile, counties such as Yunyang, Fengjie, Zhongxian and Shizhu have already made a clean sweep of general industrial solid wastes.

In Fengjie County and Fengdu County, two major sources of urban waste in the reservoir area, workers are working day and night to remove the rubbish.

The Three Gorges Reservoir is due to start filling in June 2003,at which time dozens of counties in Chongqing Municipality and Hubei Province are expected to be underwater.

(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2002)

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