June 28,2016--“The past ten years of development have completely realized our goals for ecological protection.” Wang Zhongyu, the general manager of Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company, said at the Forum for the Ten Year Anniversary of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway on June 25th in Lhasa.
On July 1st, 2006, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway began formal operation. Starting from Xining in Qinghai Province on the east and all the way to Lhasa on the west, the railway has a total of 1956 km, with more than 960 km at an altitude of 4000 meters or higher. It is the world’s highest-altitude and longest-distance railway built on a plateau. The railway traverses across the interior of the Qinghai Plateau, passing nature preserves such as Hoh Xil, Sanjiangyuan (where Yangtze River, Yellow River, and Lantsang River originate), and Changtang Prairie, a high altitude region which lacks oxygen, an austere natural environment, and fragile ecology.
Wang said that in 10 years of operation for the railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company has diligently followed national environmental regulations and legal standards to build an ecological model for plateau railways in order to maintain the railway’s reputation as “a Low-Carbon and Ecological Channel.” They referenced management experience from construction, optimizing all 256 criteria of environmental protection, and adhered to strict standards in ecological education for all new employees. They have insisted on protecting the ecological protection facilities and wild animals’ travel routes along the railway, achieving a harmonious union of railway development and ecological environment.
He said that in the last 10 years, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company has invested a total of 120 million yuan in completely treating the severe sand-damaged areas along the railway, a total of 78.8 km. They planted 103 km and 5396 mu of vegetation along the Xining-Golmud section, as well as 120 km and 3600 mu of vegetation along the South of Tangla portion, and 106 mu and 2.4 km of vegetation North of Tangla. They also revived the grass beds for 133.4 km and 3236 mu along the Qumar River-Yanshiping portion. Currently, a total of 708 km along the railway has vegetation, forming a green corridor on the Qinghai Plateau.
While the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company is building an ecological brand, the company is also implementing measures of low energy-use and low emission. The entire route uses electricity and solar power for heat, and 15 waste water treatment plants were built along the way, ensuring that all of the low-energy use standards are met, and that Sanjiangyuan, the “Water Tower of China,” is free of pollution.