A Diary, The First Day at the Yellow River Decade Team
Luo Qihua, 14 year-old volunteer
I am a volunteer writer responsible for writing in the group diary about the first day of our trip. Despite being the youngest member of our group, I feel very proud of myself for participating in this activity.
Our guide told us a lot about the Yellow River when we were in the cars.
The Yellow River is considered China's mother river.
We visited the Immortal Groove. There were many chemical factories there along with the Yiqianer Management Office.
Immoral Groove was once an old channel of the Yellow River's estuary. Due to the deposition of silt, the Yellow River’s estuary is continually changing. In the beginning, the estuary changed naturally. Residents who lived along the river often heard the sound of mountains breaking at midnight. However, recently, the estuary has been artificially changed.
A chemical factory, as the name indicates, is a factory that deals with chemical materials. It is a potential hazard to its surroundings and has a large danger zone. It might pollute a piece of land, a stretch of a river, or even a sea. When we passed the factories, we smelled the acrid stench of wasted chemical gasoline. These factories are not only harmful to animals and plants, they are also harmful to human beings. One of the volunteers asked Wang Jian if the construction of sewage treatment facilities could clean all the polluted water dumped by these factories. Professor Wang replied that it would be very difficult to reach that goal because it would add 15% to the factories' expenses. The curious volunteer seemed very disappointed after hearing Mr. Wang reply. In my perspective, human beings work only for their own benefit without caring for their surroundings. What a regrettable trend! I cannot imagine what the future will be like if humans continue developing in this unsustainable fashion. Professor Zhao once said, "Benefit or harm depends on the decisions of human beings. The living creatures and plants that have been defined by humans as “beneficial or harmful” existed millions of years before the existence of human beings. We can no longer live in a self-centered world. We cannot judge what is beneficial or harmful using our own value system. There’s much more to take into consideration." These words have been engraved in my memory.
We saw big digging trucks in the natural reserves at the Yiqianer management office. When we arrived at the estuary of the Yellow River, we happened to see a beautiful sight. The sunset, the sea, and the river were all intertwined in a harmony of color. What a gorgeous scene! I imagined what it would be like if everyone could see that sunset from anywhere in the world.
After a day’s trip, we shared our feelings.
“Factories, villages, wetlands, everything has changed dramatically. Nature itself has its own rules and human beings have their limits.” -anthropologist Mr. Luo. I agree that humans cannot control everything.
"I hope that humans will strive to learn more about ecology and nature.” -an environmental consultant from Hong Kong
Big Li was a little worried and said, "As a foreigner, it makes me terribly sad to see rapid construction projects so close to the natural reserve."
"I made several mistakes today. I messed up my camera so all my pictures came out badly.” -Mr.Cai. Everyone started laughing.
Mrs. Yang, a journalist, said: “In reality, urban cities and rural villages are quite different.” The 12-hour trip was a big shock to her. She suggested that the leader should tell the group about the places that they are visiting each day. She was the only person who raised suggestions. I hope others will give their opinions as well.
Mr. You said: “After we have seen the influential impact that the population, the petrochemical industry, and irrigation has had on the Yellow River delta, it’s time for us to think about the relationship between development and conservation. However, when I saw the fast flowing current of the river today, I felt less worried about the divergence of channels.” “Will the Yellow River be the same today as it will be in the future? Let’s see in ten years. ” One of the local environmentalists said.
When I got back to our hotel, I arranged a special interview with Professor Wang Jian and Professor Zhao Lianshi. Mr. Wang Jian said, ”I was impressed by the spectacular sight of the Yellow River on the first day of our trip. However, at the same time, I also noticed chemical factories under construction alongside the river. The sewage from these plants, if it isn’t handled properly, will pollute the plants and animals there. Once the pollution spreads, man-kind will have to pay a heavy price.” Mr. Zhao Lianshi told me: ”The delta, which was formed due to the deposition of the Yellow River, is a large fertilized area full of vegetation. This not only provides a nice environment for animals to live in but it also creates a better surrounding for human beings. Humans always take natural resources for granted. But the truth is that humans and nature are born with close interconnections. If mankind shows a kind attitude towards nature, nature will offer more resources as a reward. However, if humans treat the environment badly, nature will take revenge. Humans, animals, and plants are all irreplaceable parts of nature. I believe that we will find the right path between development and conservation.”
I hope that the beauty of sunsets will remain forever.
Translator: Miao Qing
Proofreader: Ryan Yu
Aug 12, 2010