New shipping lanes needed in Three Gorges reservoir region: NPC deputies

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/28 20:33:40

Aerial photo taken on Oct. 28, 2019 shows the view of the Three Gorges project in Zigui County, central China's Hubei Province. The 175-meter experimental impoundment of Three Gorges this year came to the end at present as the water level of the Three Gorges Reservoir rose to 174.43 meters as of 8pm Monday. (Photo by Wang Gang/Xinhua)

New shipping lanes in the Three Gorges reservoir region should be constructed to relieve traffic congestion that has long plagued the Yangtze River, deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) proposed at the two sessions, sparking online concern that such construction would cause more environmental pollution.

A total of 10 NPC deputies from Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality handed in a proposal calling for the expansion of the waterway in the Three Gorges region to alleviate the transportation pressure caused by increasing cargo shipments along the 6,300-kilometer-long Mother River.

The Three Gorges waterway has been overloaded since 2011 when it met the designed capacity for 2030 -- 19 years ahead of schedule. It has increasingly been hit by traffic congestion, which hampers regional economic growth. 

Since building new water traffic channels will take at least eight years, the NPC deputies suggested that the central government make a decision as soon as possible. 

As one of the busiest navigable rivers in the world, the Yangtze is a major waterway connecting the eastern and western parts of the country. It also faces the great threat of pollution from a large number of cargo ships. 

Ma Jun, director of Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times on Thursday that as the government considers the expansion of the waterway of the Yangtze River in the Three Gorges reservoir region, environmental issues should also be on the agenda, such as discouraging the building of chemical and mining facilities along the river.

Ships may fail to meet emission standards when discharging sewage, and there are also problems of garbage and chemical leaks, media reported. 

Cargo throughput for the Three Gorges section surged from 43 million tons in 2004 to 148 million tons in 2019, with an average annual growth rate of 9 percent. In the same period, the volume of water transportation in Chongqing increased from 20 million tons to 211 million tons, while the volume of neighboring Sichuan Province increased from 29 million tons to 69 million tons.  


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