Visitors to the multi-billion-dollar Three Gorges Dam Project, the largest dam in the world, are surprised to see a clean and tranquil construction site, garden-like office area and groups of tourists taking pictures against the backdrop of the gigantic dam that is taking shape after eight years of construction.
Statistics show some 300,000 tourists visit the site a year. “It’s really hard to believe the construction site of such a big project could be so calm and clean,” said Xiao Xingle, deputy secretary-general of the city government of Yichang, Hubei Province, where the dam is located.
The official witnessed the building of the Gezhouba Dam Project, the first giant dam on the Yangtze River launched 30 years ago.
Sun Weiquan, director of Yichang’s environmental protection bureau, attributed to attractiveness of the construction site to the environmental protection efforts,
Environmental experts check the air, the quality of water and noise in the 15.28-sq km dam area once every month, and all the environmental data collected so far are up to the national standards, Sun said.
He Gong, deputy general manager of the China Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corporation, said the company has allocated 750 million yuan, out of the total static investment of 90 billion yuan, for protecting the local environment.
Great efforts have been made to reduce the negative impacts of the project on the environment. For instance, he said, all the sand used for making concrete, which is in great demand for the project, is made of granite dug up by the builders at the construction site. This is both cost-effective and environment-friendly, said the official.
The local government and farmers have been very concerned about environmental protection. About 20 years ago, they started a project to control soil erosion, which has resulted in an increase of both the vegetation coverage and the farmers’ income. A slogan on the outer wall of a local villager’s house reads, “To Protect the Environment Is to Safeguard Our Home.”