China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Friday, March 10, 2006

Major water diversion project faces pollution threats

NANJING, March 9 (Xinhuanet) -- China has pledged to prevent pollution in its largest water diversion project which will transfer water from the rainy south to the dry north.

will emphasize "the prevention and treatment of pollution at the sources and along the routes of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project," said Premier Wen Jiabao while delivering the government work report at the opening of the on-going Fourth Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC).

massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project, which began construction in December 2002 and is expected to cost 500 billion yuan (62 billion U.S. dollars), will divert 9.5 billion cubic meters of water from the Yangtze River, the country's longest, to north China on an annual basis once it is completed.

project has faced pollution concerns since construction began.

success of the project lies in how pollution is prevented and controlled," said Dong Yawen, an expert with the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Lakes of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

project consists of three south-to-north canals with each running about 1,300 kilometers in eastern, central and western parts of the country.

order to provide clean water for north China, industrial waste liquids, household waste water and even waste water treated by sewage plants are not allowed to be discharged into routes of the project.

central government last year earmarked 643 million yuan (some 80.4 million U.S. dollars) for four cities, including Jiangdu, Huai'an, Suqian and Xuzhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu Province to build the facilities.

the four cities estimated that a total investment of 1.43 billion yuan (179 million dollars) is needed.

local governments may not have enough funds to cover the gap," said an anonymous professor with the School of Environment of Nanjing University.

industrialization process along the Yangtze River also poses threats.

official in Jiangdu, one of the sources of the project, said that the city would like to contribute to the success of the project. "But we want economic development at the same time," he added

every city in Jiangsu has already built or is planning to build industrial parks along the routes of project.

along the Yangtze River contradicts pollution prevention," Dong Yawen said.

inspecting the eastern section of the project last year, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan told a meeting that substantial efforts to reduce pollution should be stepped up.

said enterprises that destroy resources, pollute or fail to meet safe production requirements should be closed on a legal basis, while new high-pollution projects should be staunchly banned.

will accelerate the development of an environment-friendly society," said Premier Wen Jiabao in his government work report.

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