The New York Times has been running a series this year discussing China’s remarkable economic growth, and how that has impacted the country’s environment. The latest in this saga (we’re on part 6) is the under-reported tale of the last two soft-shell Yangtze River turtles in the world.
Having reported from the Yangtze River, I can tell you that the place is a mess. Having said that, I would urge you to visit the Three Gorges ASAP, since it’ll be flooded for the final time when the Three Gorges Dam is completed in 2009. By then, most of the dramatic sights will be hidden under water, forever.
Like most problems, China’s environmental mess can mostly be traced back to the country’s pervasive corruption. I think most officials recognize the importance of the problem. But there’s simply too many special interests and bureaucracy to really effect a change anytime soon. Just one more reason to visit the Yangtze today rather than tomorrow.