China began Thursday the third-stage clearance of the site of the Three Gorges Reservoir on the Yangtze River to increase the storage capacity for the vast reservoir.
The water level of the reservoir is expected to rise to 156 meters after the flood season in 2006, according to the municipal government of Chongqing.
In the third-stage clearance, the local governments are required to clear away dismantled houses, factories, waste water and solid rubbish, that may pollute the water, beneath the water level of 156 meters.
China started clearance for the reservoir site, which will be 663 kilometers long and 58,000 square kilometers in size, in 2002 with southwestern municipality of Chongqing and Hubei Province, central China, involved.
It is estimated that, in Chongqing alone, some 650,000 tons of household garbage, more than 300,000 tons of industrial solid waste and over 60 tons of dangerous waste, need to deal with this time, according to the Chongqing municipal government.
"All the waste will be appropriately disposed to avoid pollution," said an official with the municipal environment protection department.
The Three Gorges Project, of which the reservoir is a major component, requires the relocation of 1.13 million people before it is completed by 2009 when water levels will rise to 175 meters.
China will invest 39.2 billion yuan (4.7 billion US dollars) in projects to curb water pollution in the reservoir area and upper reaches of the Yangtze River by 2010.
The Three Gorges Project will help control flooding in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze. It will also generate hydro-electric power equivalent to 50 million tons of coal annually after generators are operating at full capacity.