Free Birds oppose the return of a project aimed at regulating the water flows of Poyang Lake, considered one of China’s vital “kidneys”.
The revival of a plan to address water recession in China’s largest freshwater lake has drawn an outcry from Chinese conservationists, reports David Stanway, a senior correspondent for Reuters news agency.
Shanghai-based NGO, Free Birds, say adding “even more engineering” to a problem caused in large part by engineering will not resolve Poyang Lake’s severe winter dry-up problem.
Free Birds in an open letter to the Jiangxi government, which governs the province where Poyang is located, called out the plan to build a 3-kilometre sluice gate at the mouth of Poyang as defying President Xi Jinping’s call to better protect the ecology of the Yangtze River. They say the gate will break the natural link between Poyang and the upstream Yangtze and further hammer a fragile ecosystem.
In their letter, Free Birds direct the Jiangxi government to take a closer look at the real reasons for water decline in Poyang, which they say includes sand mining and the holding back of water by giant reservoirs like the Three Gorges – Poyang is the largest body of water downstream of the Three Gorges Dam.
Engineers supporting the project contend the sluice gate would at least improve local farming and say features of the project are designed to minimize habitat disruptions.