Thursday, May 24, 2007
No Dams in the Three Parallel Rivers Area, Yunnan Pleadges
The Yunnan provincial government has announced that there will be “absolutely” no dams built and no mines opened in the Three Parallel Rivers area, one of the World Natural Heritage sites listed by the UNESCO.
An investigation by Untied Nations officials of this area last year showed that the natural heritage site, inscribed in 2003, was facing serious threats, such as planned hydro-electronic power plants, mining and tourism. Some Chinese environmentalist also fought fiercely against such developments approved by local governments, who were eager to reap economic gains even at the price of the well-being of the environment.
Still, an official from Yunnan government told China News Services that a hydro-electronic power plant was planned for a site close to the heritage area, although the plan has not been approved by the central government. He also said there are scores of mines within the heritage site and need to be shut down.
The Three Parallel Rivers site, located in the mountainous area of north-west Yunnan, features sections of the upper reaches of three rivers: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween, which run roughly parallel. “The site is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world in terms of biodiversity,” says the UNESCO.