--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

Land Reclamation a Threat to China's Coasts

China's booming coastal economies have caused a frenetic increase in land reclamation projects with disastrous consequences to the coastlines and the fragile ecosystems they support.

"Marine plankton and fish types have been reduced dramatically in the past decade, and marine eco-systems have been ruined in coastal areas where land reclamation projects are rampant, such as the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the Yellow River Delta," Lin Shaohua, director of the National Marine Data and Information Service Center of the State Oceanic Administration, said yesterday.

Excessive land reclamation poses a great threat to the environment, experts with the center say, because it damages the natural habitat of marine animals and plants, blocks estuaries and causes flooding in coastal areas.

To put a halt to the wanton destruction of marine life and to better protect the environment, an oceanic observation system using marine satellites will be set up as part of an ongoing national survey project. The survey is expected to be completed by 2009, Lin said.

In the last few decades, about half of the country's mangrove swamps and 80 percent of its coral reefs have been damaged, according to the center's statistics.

China's beaches areas have shrunk by half over the past five decades, especially in recent years.

Jiaozhou Bay, located on the Yellow Sea in east China's Shandong Province, has shrunk by 35 percent -- from 535 square kilometers in 1928 to the current 367 square kilometers -- according to the National Oceanographic Bureau's Beihai Branch. In 2002, the Qingdao government approved about 20 land reclamation projects that resulted in the filling up of some 16 square kilometers of the bay.

The reduction of the bay has led to a decrease in its tide-control capacity and a deteriorated environment. In the 1960s, more than 54 kinds of marine life populated the estuary; by the 1980s, only 17 remained.

Large-scale land reclamation is also taking place in southern Guangdong Province where many large enterprises, especially in the chemical and power industries, have set up in Beibuwan Bay.

"More and more projects have been started on land reclaimed from the sea to avoid hassles such as tearing down old housing, relocating residents and paying compensation for land acquisition," said Professor Hou Guoben of China Ocean University in Qingdao.

But one expert does not believe it's all gloom and doom, and the matter has to be viewed in the proper perspective.

"Sea filling and land reclamation have been important oceanic engineering activities for a long time, as well as a key means of utilizing living and production space in the ocean," Sun Shuxian, director of the sea areas management department of the National Oceanographic Bureau, said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.

Furthermore, the central government and coastal provinces have set strict standards to control sea filling and land reclamation.

Xin Rongmin, an official with the Shandong Marine and Fishery Department, said that projects have to be approved by the provincial or central government, and must fully and scientifically demonstrate that they meet the guidelines on oceanic planning and national industrial policies.

(China Daily May 26, 2005)



Heading Towards a Circular Economy
Green Policies Vital for Healthy Growth
Sea Change for Coastal Development Starts in Xiamen
Coastal Chinese Province to Build Garden-like Cities
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688