Work on China's Three Gorges dam is causing environmental havoc on the Yangtze River, a government agency has warned. Beijing's National Environmental Protection Agency said construction of the US$30 billion (HK$232 billion) dam had destroyed vast tracts of soil and vegetation without a proper study of the project's impact. 'As the Yangtze River's Three Gorges dam scheme makes rapid progress, environmental protection programmes are lagging far behind,' the agency said in its official periodical, China Environment News. 'Most environmental problems are still outstanding.' The article was the sharpest criticism of the Three Gorges dam by a state agency since the National People's Congress authorised construction in 1992. The agency contradicted government claims the dam's environmental impact had been properly assessed. 'In the resettlement process, large tracts of vegetation have been destroyed,' the agency said. 'Construction work has also eaten up large amounts of farmland and created a mountain of two-million cubic metres of rubble.'