China's Yangtze River Extensively Polluted, Study Says
BEIJING -- China's Three Gorges Dam reservoir has been fouled by pesticides, fertilizers and sewage, and more than 600 kilometres of the Yangtze river are critically polluted, Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing a report.
The joint report by an institute at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the international WWF organization and the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission also said nearly 30 percent of the river's major tributaries, including the Minjiang, Tuojiang, Xiangjiang and Huangpu rivers, were seriously polluted.
"The impact of human activities on the Yangtze water ecology is largely irreversible," Yang Guishan, a researcher of the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of the chief editors of the report, told Xinhua.
"It's a pressing job to regulate such activities in all the Yangtze drainage areas and promote harmonious development of man and nature."
China's environment has suffered for years as the country has chased rapid economic growth, with little official attention given until recently to the threats of unfettered growth to the nation's air, water and soil.
Last month at the opening session of the National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao called for economic growth goals to be balanced with protection of the environment.
Cities along the Yangtze annually dump at least 14.2 billion tons of waste into China's longest waterway -- which Xinhua said accounts for 35 percent of the country's fresh water resources.
The river's annual harvest of aquatic products dropped from 427,000 tons in the 1950s to about 100,000 tons in the 1990s, according to the joint study.
It also said the Three Gorges Dam reservoir, the world's largest water storage facility, was seriously polluted by pesticides, fertilizers and sewage from passenger boats.