Thursday, December 13, 2007

China to clear "1,000-year-old" trash from mega-dam

Reuters: Officials running China's huge Three Gorges Dam have vowed to clear the last of the "1,000-year old" trash mountains fouling the reservoir, state media reported on Thursday. The 300,000-tonne slope of garbage teetering on the shores of the Yangtze River dates back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and has been rising rapidly in recent years, an official at Luoqi Town in southwest China told the Xinhua news agency. "The large amount of domestic refuse exposed on the bank emits a foul odor and threatens the water quality of the Yangtze," the report said.

Environmental problems are common around the vast dam, as are official announcements of their impending solution. Residents of Luoqi have no where else to dump garbage and every day they add over 400 kg (880 lb) to the rotting pile, the official said. Residents will get an environmentally clean trash station early next year, and the ancient garbage mountain will be cleared by September, the official said.

Waste, industrial scrap and untreated sewage seeping into the Three Gorges Dam are just a few of the environmental hazards around the controversial project, due for completion in a year or two. In September, a senior dam official warned of environmental havoc if the problems were not defused. But since then officials have said loud and often that the threats are under control.

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