Three Gorges Probe

Cleanup Commences on Rubbish Clogged Three Gorges Dam

(April 11, 2010) The large amounts of floating garbage brought by the summer floods which had accumulated at China’s Three Gorges Dam has reportedly been cleared to ensure the normal operation of its generators and system of boat channels, the local authorities said.

Earlier, Chen Lei, director of the key water project department under the China Three Gorges Corporation warned “the huge amount of floating garbage would threaten the normal operation of the dam.”

The detritus of tree trunks, branches, straw and plastic goods which threatened to clog the dam, would also be damaging to the environment if not cleared.

Chen told the China Daily in August that 150,000 to 200,000 cubic meters of floating garbage is collected from the dam each year, however, the situation this year is somewhat more serious.

Wang Yafei, an official of Zigui bureau of environmental protection and director of the cleanup operation, told China Daily on Nov. 3 that the cleanup operation continued from Oct. 26-31 and salvaged 3833 tons of floating garbage, 600 tons per day on average.

The China Three Gorges Corporation annually spends about 10 million yuan on clearing floating garbage, yet the cost this year is expected to hit 20 million yuan.

The local environmental protection department said it plans to spend six months a year cleaning the dam, to last from May to November.

To avoid polluting the environment, the local official at Yichang City’s environmental protection authority said “most of the floating garbage will be disposed of by nearby cement factories with the remainder being used as landfill.”

China launched the Three Gorges project in 1993 at a cost of US$22.5 billion. Millions of residents were forced to move from their homes to make way for the construction. Chinese officials said that the high cost of this has was worth it as it has alleviated the disastrous floods along the Yangtze River in high-water season and helped to provide the electricity for eastern areas in China.

Y.J. Chiang, Want China Times, April 11, 2010


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