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Three Gorges Reservoir Are to Be Environmentally Friendly
The Three Gorges Reservoir, a project that is of major importance to China’s social and economic develop, will begin to conserve water at a speed of five meters a day until it reaches the 135m mark in June of 2003. Its eco-environmental and pollution protection will be of decisive significance in deciding whether it will be a success.

The issues have been attached significant importance from the feasibility study to construction. Thanks to hard efforts of years, an eco-economy has taken shape in the reservoir area.

At a meeting in May of 1999, Premier Zhu Rongji decided to change the previous policy of asking the farmers to resettle in the original resident locality above the watermark to encouraging them to immigrate to other localities and shut up those polluting or losing firms that have no product market.

This change of policy brought tremendous ecological effects and helped drastically cut the pollution in the reservoir area. By July of 2002, 126 projects had been accomplished with a total investment of 3.419 billion yuan (US$413 million). Of the amount, investment in environmental protection accounted for 111 million yuan (US$13.4 million), making up 3.24 percent of the total. 99.18 percent of firms carried out environmental impact studies and 97.54 percent of firms set up environmental protection facilities while they were being built.

At a meeting in Yichang, Hubei, in July of 2001, Premier Zhu Rongji called for high attention to geological disasters and eco-environment construction. The meeting decided to have the construction budget to cover funds for the prevention of geological disasters and have the state treasury bonds to cover the funds for eco-environment construction.

After the Yichang conference, the State Environmental Protection Administration worked out a program for the prevention of pollution in the reservoir area from 2001 to 2010. It aims to ensure that the water environmental quality of the reservoir area is safe and the water conservancy network will operate normally. It focuses on the building of urban sewage and garbage disposal facilities and integrates the water pollution control with regional development, resettlement, infrastructure construction and eco-environment protection.

By the end of 2001, Chongqing city launched the first group of environmental projects – 19 wastewater disposal centers and five garbage disposal grounds. Another 8 sewage disposal centers were launched in 2002. They will all be accomplished in June of 2003. The sewage and garbage disposal centers in the 30 towns on the river will be completed before the end of 2003. Eighty percent of urban sewage and 90 percent of garbage in the city will be treated, far surpassing the national average.

The city has instituted a responsibility system in the construction of all projects and established a special quality and fund control team. It has also defined the standards for land price. The costs of sewage disposal centers will be controlled within 1.5 million yuan (US$181,159) per hectare and the garbage centers in 900,000 yuan (US$108,696) per hectare.

(www.cenews.com.cn December 2, 2002)

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