Posts Tagged ‘devastating’

Nature Ramble

When we find something marvelous and beautiful, why do we have to exploit it to destruction?

World’s largest cave in Vietnam threatened by cable car

Vietnamese are protesting plans to build a cable car through remote Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park that could carry 1,000 visitors an hour to Son Doong cave

A planned 10.6km cable car route would connect Son Doong Cave with other caves in the area as part of a planned “tourism, service and resort complex”. Photograph: Carsten Peter/NG/Getty Images

Plans for a cable car in Vietnam’s Unesco-listed Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park would open up the world’s largest cave to mass tourism. But Vietnamese are protesting the project, and experts warn the environmental impact could be devastating.

Quang Binh province announced in October that resort developer Sun Group would build a $212m (£135m) cable car system through the national park, which occupies a remote, mountainous swathe of central Vietnam. The 10.6km route would connect Son Doong Cave, so large it could house an entire 40-story building, with other caves in the area as part of a planned “tourism, service and resort complex”.

According to local official Nguyen Huu Hoai, the cable car would carry 1,000 visitors per hour.

After the announcement drew an unprecedented flood of opposition, the national tourism ministry made clear that it had not yet approved the project. Experts from overseas slammed the plan in local newspaper and TV reports, while Vietnamese activist Bao Nguyen launched an online petition that drew thousands of signatures. However, the tourism ministry then gave the go-ahead for a preliminary survey – a tentative nod of consent.

Sun Group claims the cable car would be the most environmentally friendly means of opening the area to tourism. Company spokesperson Quach Bao Tran also said the project would “develop Quang Binh as a tourism center” and bring “thousands of jobs for the poor local people”. But experts refute these claims.

“The environmental impact would be devastating,” said Andy McKenzie, one of the first explorers to visit the cave.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

A Country with a Conscience

Chile rejects huge hydro-electric project in Patagonia

Environmentalists say the hydro-electric project would have devastated the region’s ecosystem

The Chilean government has rejected what would have been the biggest energy project in the country’s history.

The HidroAysen project would have seen five huge dams built on two rivers in a beautiful part of Patagonia.

“This project has many aspects that were poorly thought out,” said Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco.

Environmentalists celebrated the decision, saying the project would have had a devastating impact on the area’s ecosystem.

“These giant dams would have put at risk the wilderness, traditional culture, and local tourism economy of this remarkable region,” said Amanda Maxwell, Latin America project director at the Natural Resources’ Defence Council.

Thousands of people had protested against the HidroAysen project.

Environment Minister Pablo Badenier said HidroAysen had made insufficient provision for those who would have been displaced, and the quantification of damage to the environment and wildlife were inadequate.

The companies behind the proposal, Spain’s Endesa and Chile’s Colbun, can appeal against the decision before an environmental court.

“Without HidroAysen, the country is starting to turn its back on hydroelectricity – the only real remedy to the continuing dependence on fossil fuels,” said Daniel Fernandez, the CEO of HidroAysen.

He described the move as a lost opportunity for Aysen, one of the most remote and under-developed areas of the country.

Source: BBC News

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