A group of senior officials and experts gathered in central China’s Wuhan City on September 25 to discuss environmental issues related to the Three Gorges Dam Project. There are many potentially harmful problems that will affect the ecology and cause catastrophe unless timely preventive measures are taken, according to them.
The Three Gorges Dam has served as a barrier against seasonal flooding that annually threatens the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. But its impact on the ecology along the river has become noticeable.
According to Huang Xuebin, an expert from the Ministry of Land and Resources, regular geological disasters have seriously threatened the lives of the residents in the Three Gorges Reservoir area. Landslides falling into the river can create waves dozens of meters high that crash into surrounding shores, affecting areas dozens of kilometers away.
The water quality of Yangtze River tributaries has deteriorated after the reservoir began to store water, along with drinking water resources for residents in the river valley. This is causing locals to worry.
The ecological environment in the reservoir area is fragile, according to Wang Xiaofeng, Director of the General Office of the Three Gorges Dam Project Construction Committee under the State Council. Regular natural disasters, soil erosion and conflicts over land shortages and irrational development have all contributed to ecological deterioration.
The local governments suggest that laws governing the management of the Three Gorges Reservoir and relevant environmental protection programs be enacted as soon as possible. Experts attending the meeting also made appeals for long-term disaster prevention and control mechanisms to be established in the reservoir area, along with a guarantee of efficient maintenance of the completed treatment programs.
Some facts about the Three Gorges project:
·The Three Gorges Project, the world's largest water control facility, is located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.
·The project is expected to take 17 years; completion expected in 2009.
·With an estimated cost of 180 billion yuan (US$22.5 billion), the project will have 26 generators able to generate 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually.
·The Three Gorges Reservoir will inundate 632 square kilometers (395 square miles) of land.
·An estimated 1.4 million people will be resettled by the project.
All About Yangtze River, Three Gorges Project, Relocation program(China.org.cn September 28, 2007)