Floating garbage threatens China`s Three Gorges Dam
Beijing: Hundred of tonnes of garbage
washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam
China`s massive Three Gorges Dam.
Nearly three tonnes of trash are collected from the
dam every day, but operators are struggling with inadequate
manpower and equipment as trash accumulates more quickly due
to rain-triggered floods.
"The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam
the mitre gate of the Three Gorges Dam," Chen Lei, director of
the key water project department under the China Three Gorges
Corporation, told China Daily.
In some regions, these layers of garbage are so thick
people can walk on them, an official media report said.
Although the amount of garbage in the river has been
decreasing in recent years, current downpours in the upstream
region have brought unusually high amounts of floating waste,
including tree branches, plastic bottles and other domestic
garbage into the Yangtze River.
"Such a large amount of debris could damage the
propellers and bottoms of passing boats. The decaying garbage
could also harm the scenery and the water quality," Chen said.
A layer of garbage about 60 cm thick covering an area
of more than 50,000 square meters began to form in front of
the dam when the rainy season started in early July.
More than 150 million people live near the dam and its
upper stream. But a number of cities remain unequipped with
garbage disposal equipment.
Residents dump their household garbage directly into
the river and the practice affects dam safety in the rainy
season, officials said.
The China Three Gorges Corporation spends about 10
million yuan (USD 1.48 million) each year to clear the
floating waste. The cost for disposing the waste is expected
to hit 3 million yuan this year, he said.
Enormously expensive and disruptive, the Three Gorges
Dam, the world`s biggest, has cost over 254 billion yuan (USD
37.5 billion) and forced the relocation of 1.3 million people
to make way for the reservoir.
Chinese flood relief personnel are also removing
hundreds of tonnes of garbage floating in other rivers.
The garbage accumulation covers an area of 15,000
square meters and is up to one meter thick in places near the
Workers are racing to clear the accumulation amid
fears the jammed bridge might collapse if another flood hits
before it is removed.
"We have collected 40 trucks of the trash, but the
remaining trash might fill another 200 trucks," Wang Yong, a
police officer in charge of the clean-up operation told Xinuha
It may take another five days to finish clearing the
waterway on the upper reaches of the Yalu River, Wang said.
Officials fear if the bridge collapses, the debris and
the accumulation might flow downstream to the dam and block
its flood gates.
Floodings all over China have claimed over 1000 lives
in the past months.
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