China planning to arrest Yangtze environmental damage

China will spend billions of dollars treating sewage and planting forests to arrest massive environmental degradation along the Yangtze river and its Three Gorges reservoir, officials said Tuesday.

"Generally speaking, the ecological state (of the river) is still far from what the Communist Party and people are demanding," forestry minister Jia Zhibang told journalists.

"For numerous reasons, the forests on both sides of the river have been seriously degraded, leading to bare mountains and hills that have led to repeated natural disasters" such as landslides.

The new plans call for an increase in forest coverage along the 600-kilometre-long (370-mile-long) reservoir to 65 percent from the current 22 percent, Chongqing city mayor Huang Qifan said at the same news briefing.

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