Monday, June 05, 2006

YANGTZE RIVER - China's great river poisoned

With the recent completion of the Three Gorges Dam, the final nail in the coffin of the blind Yangtze River Dolphin or Baiji, the mighty Chinese river is in the news quite a lot recently.

Here's The Scotsman and The Times with frightening recent covergage.

The Scotsman...
CHINA'S most important waterway, the mighty Yangtze River, is "cancerous" with pollution, posing a threat to the hundreds of millions of people living along its banks, Chinese state media said yesterday.

In one of the starkest warnings to appear in the normally upbeat state press, which acts as the government's mouthpiece, scientists said that the river's ability to clean itself was reaching a critical level.
The Times...
Professor Lu said that contamination has reduced the number of species living in the Yangtze from 126 in the mid- 1980s, to 52 four years ago. The Yangtze dolphin may have already become the first cetacean to be made extinct by humans.

Fishermen complain that the Three Gorges Dam has blocked fish migration, leading to a catastrophic drop in catches. Officials say the change in the oxygen content of the water from the dam construction is killing fish. Large amounts of rubbish have built up in its reservoir, which will fall by about 40 metres (131ft) each summer, leaving a huge area of exposed land that experts fear will fill with pollution, and breed diseases.