Blind urbanization dangerous

Updated: 2013-02-06 07:41

(China Daily)

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Shiyan, Hubei province, has been chosen as the base of the South-to-North water diversion project. But Shiyan's rivers are dry during a large part of the year and the city is hit by natural disasters such as mudslides in the rainy season because mountains are being blasted for land reclamation. It is surprising that the authorities have selected Shiyan for their ambitious project without taking into account the damage they would cause to the natural landscape and the environment, says an article in China Youth Daily. Excerpts:

Blasting mountains for land reclamation has become a trend, with many local governments continuing to expand cities or build new ones on reclaimed land. A better and more environmentally friendly way of expanding cities would be to build satellite towns instead of destroying natural structures.

Urban planners should have people's real interest and welfare in mind and oppose destructive urbanization.

Blasting mountains out of existence may not have immediate consequences, but in the long run the damage to ecology will prove costly. Droughts and drought-like conditions have been plaguing vast areas of southwestern and southern China in recent years because of low rainfall - but they can also be attributed to shrinking lakes and other water bodies as a result of land reclamation.

Apart from staking hundreds of millions of yuan, the authorities also could face hidden problems if they go ahead with projects for political considerations without taking environmental damage into account. Since a massive project like the South-to-North water diversion scheme takes years to complete, who will be responsible if it proves a failure?