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Three Gorges Dam Water Gets Worse

CHINA - The water quality in several branches of the Three Gorges Dam area in China is getting worse even though the main body of water is reported to be getting slightly cleaner.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said in an amended plan to tackle water pollution in the area that the quality of water in the dam reservoir and higher reaches of the Yangtze River has remained at category III - safe for drinking, aquaculture and swimming.

SEPA said several branches of the river were becoming less capable of supporting the microbes and plant life that make water fit for drinking and for fish and plants to grow in it.

"The target for chemical oxygen demand set for 2005 was not met," SEPA said.

Although several large wastewater plants have been built and polluted factories closed or equipped with cleaning facilities, some of the facilities have not been running at full capacity.

About two-thirds of the ecological conservation projects in the plan have yet to start, the report says.

The facilities used to monitor environmental changes in the whole area have also not been put in place, it added.

Ellen Hardy

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