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17:41 May 13 2010

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Quake clean-up carries on in Yushu
17:40, May 13, 2010  

A resident of Gyegu township of Yushu, Qinghai province, clears up the ruins of her house with assistance from armed police officers on May 1. (Xinhua Photo)

Almost a month after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake devastated Yushu county in Northwest China's Qinghai province, residents and officials are still removing animal carcasses and other environmentally-hazardous waste to prevent ecological damage in the area as well as to protect the water supply.

Since reconstruction work began, officials said the quake had not damaged the water and soil in the Sanjiangyuan region, the source of China's three major rivers: the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang.

Yushu lies in the heart of the Sanjiangyuan region, nicknamed "China's water tower", and sits at an average altitude of more than 4,000 meters.

"The vegetation, the biodiversity and the ecosystem in Yushu remained intact after the quake," said Ren Jie, an official with the provincial environmental protection department.

Officials with the local animal epidemic prevention and monitoring center have kept a close watch since the quake, on the lookout to prevent pollutants released by the quake from entering waterways and threatening Sanjiangyuan's ecology.

Some 20,000 leaflets in Tibetan and Chinese were distributed, urging local residents to report any animal carcasses. As of April 30, nearly 43,000 sheep, cattle, dog and horse carcasses had been disposed of in a biologically safe way, local authorities said.

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