China warns of Three Gorges “catastrophe”

China's Three Gorges Dam has had an adverse impact on the region's environment, triggering frequent landslides and pollution, state media reported officials as saying on Tuesday, adding the project threatens to cause an ecological "catastrophe".

The dam provides a source of clean energy and has prevented seasonal flooding on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the People’s Daily said, but its benefits have come at a heavy environmental cost.

The huge weight of water behind the Three Gorges Dam has eroded the Yangtze River’s banks in many places, officials heard at a two-day forum held in Wuhan on Tuesday, and together with frequent fluctuations in water levels, this had triggered a series of landslides.

Tan Qiwei, vice mayor of Chongqing, was reported as saying that the shore of the reservoir had collapsed in 91 places and a total of 36 kilometres had caved in.

"If no preventive measures are taken, the project could lead to catastrophe," the newspaper quoted officials as saying in a statement.

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