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Three Gorges Reservoir at Risk of Upriver Pollution: Expert

The water quality in China's Three Gorges reservoir on the Yangtze River is being polluted by discharge from industry and towns upstream of the giant dam, a Chinese environmental scientist said in Beijing on Thursday.


While the water quality in the mainstream of the Yangtze River is relatively good, the river's main tributaries such as the Jialing River, Tuojiang River and Wujiang River upstream from the Three Gorges reservoir are seriously polluted, Wei Fusheng, vice director of Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences, said at the annual meeting of the society.


About 75 percent of the pollutants in the reservoir are from the three main tributaries, said Wei, who is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.


More than 60 percent of the organic pollution in the reservoir comes from industry, agriculture and urban settlements along the banks of the Yangtze River and the Jialing River, Wei said.


Another report on Yangtze River protection and development released by the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences last month showed that more than 600 kilometers of the Yangtze River are in critical condition. Almost 30 percent of its major tributaries are seriously polluted.


The report also assessed the Three Gorges Dam project, showing its huge reservoir is seriously polluted by pesticides, fertilizers and sewage from passenger boats.


The Three Gorges Project, the world's largest hydropower project, includes a 185-meter-high dam and 26 generators. It is located on the middle reaches of the Yangtze.


There are 160 million people living in the Three Gorges area in five provinces and municipalities.


(Xinhua News Agency May 25, 2007)

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