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New district construction causes controversy | Updated: 2013-08-26 20:35

A new district construction project in Yan'an, Shaanxi province, is causing public concern about safety and ecological risk, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts below:

Recently Yan'an has launched a new district construction project that has reached an overall scale of 78.5 square kilometers. The Yan'an local government said the new district construction project aims to protect revolutionary relics because the population density of the current urban area is almost saturated. But the public is strongly concerned about the negative impacts of district construction in mountain areas.

Yan'an is located on a loess plateau, which has rather complicated geographic conditions. Whether it is appropriate and safe to conduct large-scale construction, especially tall buildings and large mansions, on collapsible loess areas is questionable. Even the new district construction official admits that there are major technical risks in the construction project. Since this July, Yan’an has suffered mudslides as a result of continuous heavy rain, which led to mass damage. If extreme weather conditions or serious geologic hazards take place in the new district, there will be disastrous consequences.

In addition, large-scale construction in collapsible loess areas also faces ecological risks. New construction will block mountain ditches that used to be flood discharge channels. Whether such construction will change local ecological situations and lead to floods or drainage problems should be carefully evaluated.

If the new construction project does harm to the local ecological environment and endangers local people's livelihoods, local authority should think twice before taking action.

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