Dams and Earthquakes

In Wenchuan, geological risks continue

(October 7, 2011) Three years after the devastating May 2008 Sichuan earthquake, geologist Yang Yong investigates the proliferation of hastily approved mining and industry projects putting the area at risk of further geological disasters. Read an excerpt below.

In Wenchuan, crisis continues


Wang Tao

Southern Weekend

Large mining trucks shuttled back and forth over the levelled top of Longmen Mountain, as rocks tumbled down the steep slopes. In the dense forest below, white rockfall scars were clearly visible through the trees.

This was the scene at the open-cast mining site owned by Lafarge’s Dujiangyan concrete plant, observed by Yang Yong, a geologist who in August carried out a two-week survey of the earthquake-struck Longmen mountains in Sichuan province, south-west China. “After the Wenchuan earthquake, businesses had the opportunity to move in and expand, and a number of new mining areas were opened up in Longmen. We need to be wary of this,” said Yang.

Head of the Hengduan Mountains Research Association and an expert at the China Foundation for Desertification Control, Yang has made a name for himself conducting independent investigations like this one. His interest in the Wenchuan region stretches back 15 years and he has spent the last three studying the effects of the devastating 2008 earthquake.

Yang is increasingly concerned about the path rehabilitation of the region has taken. “Reconstruction projects and the revival of mining industries have put a lot of pressure on the local geology and environmental capacity,” Yang told Southern Weekend on September 11. He is worried that secondary disasters such as mudslides and building collapses will cause more problems for post-disaster relocation projects than anticipated, and that some reconstruction schemes and new and expanding mines, exacerbated by poor environmental and safety management, will worsen those risks.

Read the full article at ChinaDialogue.

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