Attempting to curb fresh criticism of the country’s massive Three Gorges Dam spurred by a landslide that killed over 30 people, China announced a set of vague initiatives to improve the environmental problems caused by the world’s largest dam. While no one has directly tied the landslide that killed a construction worker and a bus full of people to the Three Gorges Dam, the slide is consistent with the dam’s effects in the area, including increased seismic activity thought to be caused by water penetrating porous, formerly dry rock. Other environmental problems associated with the dam and its 410-mile-long reservoir include water pollution, massive algal blooms, and soil erosion. The Three Gorges Dam has already officially displaced some 1.3 million people and plans have been announced to relocate up to about 4 million more. The director of the Three Gorges Project Committee, Wang Xiaofeng, said that treating the geological hazards posed by the mega-dam was important “to ensure the lives and property of the people in the reservoir region.” Well, those who are left anyway.

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