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|Monday, August 14, 2000, updated at 17:11(GMT+8)|
Unilever Becomes 1st Foreign Firm to Plant Trees in Three Gorges AreaHundreds of local villagers in southwest China's Chongqing City braved heavy rains last Saturday to attend a ceremony for the start of a tree-planting progrom funded by Unilever, the world's largest manufacturer of daily necessities from Europe.
Unilever is the first international company to plant trees in the Three Gorges area in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, where the mammoth Three Gorges Hydraulic Project is located.
At the ceremony, Unilever (China) Co., Ltd. donated 100,000 yuan to the local government for planting 20,000 trees covering 40 ha. in Kaixian County, Chongqing.
Chen Zhi, a Chongqing government official in charge of environmental protection along the Yangtze River, spoke highly of Unilever's program and welcomed more foreign companies to follow suit.
According to Unilever sources, the tree-planting project in the Three Gorges is merely a small part of its five-year environmental program launched this June, known as the "Unilever Living Environment Initiative: Clean Water and Green Mountains for China".
In 2000, the first year for the five-year program, Unilever will donate seven million yuan to plant 500,000 trees across the country.
Kaixian, 83 km away from the Yangtze River, will have a big part of its land submerged under water once the Three Gorges Project is completed by 2009. More than 100,000 of local residents will be relocated, accounting for one-tenth of the total to be resettled by the dam project.
Since the launching of the Three Gorges Project in 1993, China's central and local governments have attached great importance to the environmental protection in the Three Gorges area. A series of polices and substantial measures have been adopted to deal with the issue.
Meanwhile, efforts have been made to create greater publicity among local people about the importance of environmental protection.
In Kaixian, many primary school students are familiar with this slogan: Never Forget Environmental Protect While Promoting Cultural and Ethic Progress.
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