Controversy over the construction of the Shanghai-Hangzhou
magnetic levitation (maglev) train line is continuing following the
release of a report that says the rail link will have minimal
impact on the local environment.
In a website announcement on Friday, the Shanghai government
thanked those who had read the environmental assessment report
released at the start of the year. It promised to invite experts to
research the public opinions, and open a hearing at a later
Residents living along the line complained the report didn't
provide a convincing solution to the environmental problems of
noise and radiation that were raised a year earlier.
The report, compiled by the Shanghai Academy of Environmental
Sciences, focuses on the 31.8-km Shanghai section of the line
connecting Longyang Road with Hongqiao, home to the city's second
The project was suspended in May due to fierce opposition from
those living near the railway over radiation fears, particularly as
the track would be separated from communities along the route by a
greenbelt measuring only 22.5 meters wide.
The new report, published on the Shanghai Environment Online
website, which is co-hosted by State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA) and the Shanghai Environmental Protection
Bureau, said the greenbelt buffer zone would remain 22.5 meters
The website is the only access for the public to get the
low-profile report that was intended to solicit public opinion
until Jan. 15.
Residents living along the line suggested the report should be
open to the public until March 5, and biological, long-term safety
statistics should be included in the findings. They also requested
Zhu Dan, a Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau official,
said the bureau was still busy collecting public opinion.
In the report, the maximum speed along the Shanghai section of
the route will be limited to 200 kilometers per hour, less than
half of the 450 km per hour planned for the remainder of the line
The report said the maglev line would not affect water and air
quality, and noise pollution could be controlled.
The 35 billion yuan (4.5 billion U.S. dollars) Shanghai-Hangzhou
maglev project using German technology, is designed to cover the
175 km between Shanghai and Hangzhou.
If completed, it will be the world's second commercial
high-speed maglev track. Shanghai operates the world's only
commercial maglev system on a 30-km stretch between Shanghai's
business district and Pudong airport.
(Xinhua News Agency January 19, 2008)