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Yangtze River In China - Mighty Water Being

Marisela Trujillo & Kristi McCracken, June 24, 2012

Water, a natural resource which is essential for all life, is being assaulted. Each month this year Earth Healing Day identifies endangered bodies of water around the world and informs the public about the need for cleansing and purification. When these waters are no longer able to sustain life, the impact upon all will be massive. By drawing your attention to their devastation, we hope to stir your compassionate action such that we can alter this course of destruction and restore Earth to health.

This month’s focus is on the Yangtze River, a mighty water being in China known as Chang Jiang, which means ‘Great River.’ This river exemplifies a combination of Mother Nature’s magnificence, beauty and power. The scope of its presence is staggering due to the connection that exists between Yangtze and everything in its path. Some numbers will begin to give you the sense of its magnitude.

Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world. The source of this river starts in the snow-covered mountains and glaciers of Tibet at an elevation over 16,000 ft. Fed by hundreds of tributaries it flows nearly 4000 miles eastward, traversing nine provinces and forming a dividing line between southern and northern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. As one of the biggest rivers by discharge volume in the world, it drains 1 trillion tons of water into the sea annually. Its river basin is home to more than 400 million people. This remarkable water being is more than its physical attributes.

Thousands of other life forms call this river basin home. Using scientific biomass calculations it is estimated that for every human on a landmass there are 100,000 animals. The plant biomass is estimated to be 1000 times more than animal biomass. The scale of dependence upon a healthy and viable Yangtze River goes far beyond that of humans.

Known as the ‘golden waterway’ because of its navigable length, the Yangtze, China’s busiest river, accounts for 80 per cent of all cargo volumes. Unfortunately approximately 30 billion tons of industrial waste pours into it annually threatening the quality of drinking water. Small industrial cities with outdated pollution control technology have been blamed as the main cause of Yangtze River pollution. Construction of additional reservoirs in the upriver section of the Yangtze River will likely reduce the water flow of the river also diminishing its self-purification capacity.

Three Gorges Dam is the world's biggest hydropower plant which has proven to be expensive and controversial. While it generates electricity and helps elevate flooding, the project faces ecological, geological and human problems. Though it’s generating power, the dam has negatively impacted downstream river transport and water supplies. Over a mile of concrete barrier forms the reservoir which turns 26 giant turbines but has been plagued by algae and pollution that would previously have been flushed away.

Serious seismic safety risks have been created because the reservoir sits on 2 fault lines. The weight of the extra water and tons of concrete have also been blamed for tremors, landslides and erosion of slopes. While the initial relocation of over a million people and the flooding of more than a dozen cities, 100 towns and 1000 villages was unpopular, hundreds of thousands more face the same fate as erosion threatens the banks of the reservoir and river slopes.

The Three Gorges plant holds back water for optimum electricity power generation resulting in lower water levels such that long stretches of river have been closed to water traffic because hundreds of boats ran aground. This river has been a transport system for thousands of years.

Historically, the Yangtze has been a cradle of the ancient Chinese peoples as archeological studies indicate that humans first lived in this area 100,000 years ago; all along its course invaluable archeological sites harbor relics from many ancient civilizations. Today the Yangtze basin is one of the most culturally diverse areas in China, with the upper Yangtze region being home to 40 different ethnic minorities. Keeping her life giving waters flowing is critical to those who live on her shores.

Another huge water project intended to lessen the country's worsening water problems is diverting river waters from the south to the metropolitan areas of the north. Three giant channels will divert part of the Yangtze River and 3 other rivers toward the thirsty cities and factories around Beijing. This South-to-North Water Diversion project has been plagued with problems not the least of which is polluted drinking water.

Solutions to the pollution problems such as closing the worst factory polluters and building newer water treatment plants are being addressed by individual cities along the Yangtze River banks. Environmentalists are lobbying the government to develop a larger scale more cohesive plan to keep the river alive. While the government is striving to improve energy efficiency specifically of electrical motors as well as promoting more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, more needs to be done.

The Yangtze from China's western mountains passes through densely populated areas and supplies water to almost 200 cities along its banks. Don’t let this mighty river be turned into a stagnant pool. Help support efforts to sustain marine life, provide water for farming and clean drinking water to the booming cities along its banks with your focused prayers and visualizations. See this mighty water being continuing to flow and supply clean water to the many who depend upon it. See the communities who depend on her living in ways that restore the health of this beautiful and mighty river.

Click here to listen to and join in a healing meditation for the Yangtze River. Thank you for all of your efforts and prayers on behalf of the Yangtze River.