Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Hungry Construction Dragon

e all know that China is in the midst of a great construction boom these days. While traveling in the Yunnan province (southwest China) last month, I witnessed one unwelcome side effect of all this construction. In their eagerness to build and in their need for raw materials, the Chinese are gouging out their own hills and mountains.

Picture a big round hill and then imagine someone slicing off a portion of it with a huge knife, as if it were a cake. The slicing is happening as the whole hill is getting gouged out, one truckload at a time. All across Yunnan, mountains that have stood for millions of years now have recently-created blemishes – big and dirty graceless eyesores right in the middle of the green hills. We saw dozens and dozens of such gashes as we traveled by train and bus.

If this continues, in the not-too-distant future, the whole mountain will disappear due to quarrying.

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