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Rail Project Workers Protect Ecosystem

Local officials have taken serious consideration for environmental concerns in preparation for the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.

Workers taking part in the construction are also showing great awareness for environmental protection issues, according to Zhao Kun, an official with the Tibet Autonomous Regions' environmental protection department.


The budget for environmental protection alone in the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project has reached at least 1 billion yuan (US$120.5 million).


"Workers carefully dig out grass together with the underlying soil on areas the railway passes and grow them elsewhere, so that the grass can still be alive when replanted after the construction is completed," Zhao said.


The construction team also changed part of the original design of the railway to minimize damage to certain areas, such as building bridges over grasslands. This has caused the budget to swell but is well worth it, he said.


As a member of the Communist Youth League of China, Zhao came to Beijing last week to attend the league's 15th National Congress as a representative.


He promised to continue to work diligently and responsibly to guard the fragile environment of Tibet.


But because of the harsh natural conditions in Tibet, it is difficult to plant trees there, according to Zhao.


For example, few trees grow in the Naqu grassland area.


"A hole that was dug in the 1960s there is still a hole now, and grass replanted there just does not grow easily because of the harsh natural conditions," said Zhao.


"We closed small cement factories and turned down all those who want to set up factories in Tibet which might bring pollution, and now we are planning to launch a few more projects to protect Tibet's wetlands as well as the sources of rivers," he said.


(China Daily July 28, 2003)

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