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Central China drought has significant impact on environment

06-03-2011 14:25 BJT Special Report:Severe Drought Hits South China |

BEIJING, June 3 (Xinhua) -- A lingering drought in central and east China's provinces has had a devastating impact on the environment there, an environmental official said on Friday at a press conference.

Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie told the press that the drought has caused the deterioration of water quality in several major lakes.

The long-lasting drought has led to the sharp reduction of water levels in major lakes such as Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake and Honghu Lake.

Monitoring statistics showed that water quality in these lakes saw a noticeable decline in March and April, compared to the same period last year, according to Li.

Wetlands and migrant birds in these regions have also suffered from the drought, the worst to hit the region in decades, said Li.

Over 1,333 hectares of wetlands located east of Dongting Lake have dried up. The drought has left the Yangtze River, China's longest river, with its lowest levels of rainfall since 1961.

Li denied that the drought was aggravated by the river's Three Gorges Dam. He stressed that a shortage of rainfall tcaused the drought.

In regards to Jiangxi Province's reported construction plans for another dam on Poyang Lake, Li said he still did not have precise information on the issue, and that the ministry has not yet received an application for environmental assessment from the province.

Li said the government has always kept a close eye on construction projects that might have a potentially negative impact on the environment.

Environmental protection authorities will listen to opinions from concerned parties and make their assessments accordingly, he said.

The long-lasting drought has affected parts of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, which are located near the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. These areas have seen 40 to 60 percent less rainfall than usual.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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