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Environmental Concerns Paramount in Qinghai-Tibet Railway Construction
Construction began Monday on an 11.5-kilometer railway line in Dangxiong County, approximately 160 kilometers from Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

The railway, an average of about 4,300 meters above sea level, is a section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which is currently under construction and links the region with neighboring Qinghai Province.

The Dangxiong section runs through one of the lushest areas in Tibet, and efforts are thus being made to protect the 500,000 square meters of turf land and to avoid environmental pollution caused by human waste and sewage.

Builders will first remove a layer of turf to make way for the railway bed and then re-plant it on both sides of the bed.

In order to ensure that more than 80 percent of the turf survive re-planting, some 5 million yuan (US$602,000) will be allocated in addition to the funds assigned for environmental protection.

Construction of the Tibetan section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will soon be in full swing.

Begun in 2001, the railway project, the country's first linking Tibet to the rest of China, has thus far cost 7.3 billion yuan (US$884 million) and is scheduled to be completed by 2007.

With a total length of 1,100 kilometers, the railway will link Golmud, a traffic hub in Qinghai Province, with Lhasa, and will later be extended to Shigaze and Linzhi in Tibet, and Yunnan Province in southwest China.

(People’s Daily June 3, 2003)

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