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Conservation project launched to protect Yangtze River
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China's Ministry of Education and UNESCO have launched a conservation project to protect the Yangtze River in celebration of this year's World Water Day that falls on Saturday.

The "Water School for a Living Yangtze" aims to restore the ecological integrity of the Yangtze through public participation in sustainable water resource management, said an official with the education ministry.

The project will develop teaching material on water conservation, train teachers, support related community activities and promote exchange at home and aboard. It will be carried out in three pilot sites along the River Yangtze: Shangri-la, Sichuan and Shanghai.

More than 10,000 students are expected to participate in the program in the first three years.

The educational program, part of the "Water for Life" conducted by the United Nations, is sponsored by Swarovski, the world's leading producer of precision-cut crystal. Swarovski will raise around 1.5 million euros for the program.

Sewage discharged into the river has been increasing in recent years, according to the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission.

The amount was 15 billion tons at the end of the 1980s, 23.9 billion tons in 2000 and 29.6 billion tons in 2005. A record 30.5 billion tons of domestic and industrial sewage was dumped into the Yangtze in 2006.

(Xinhua News Agency, March 23, 2008)

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