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Yangtze River Still Suffocating from Waste Water Discharges
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More wastewater was discharged into the Yangtze River - China's longest, in 2005 than the previous year, according to a government report.


Last year, 296.4 tons of wastewater was released by industry and households into the Yangtze River, an increase of 8.3 tons on a year earlier, according to the report issued by the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission under the Ministry of Water Resources.


But depression cones -- caused by over-exploitation of ground water -- in Shanghai Municipality and in five other provinces along the Yangtze River, have receded to some extent, the report said.


Statistics show that the area of 17 depression cones in the six regions stood at 14,081.89 square kilometers last year, a decrease of 714.13 square kilometers on a year earlier.


Water pollution, over-fishing, shipping and a large number of water conservancy projects have affected the habitats and threatened the lives of animal species in the Yangtze River, like the rare white-flag dolphin.


In a 26-day search just ended, a team of 30 Chinese and foreign scientists failed to find the white-flag dolphin, said Wang Ding, vice director of the hydrobiology institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


The white-flag dolphin is more endangered than the giant panda due to pollution and environmental degradation, he said.


The last expedition in 1997 located 13 white-flag dolphins, the world's rarest dolphin, which lives only in this longest river of China.


(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)

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