This semester, for Project 3, we were asked to go beyond research and theory and get into the thick and thin of actually solving a large scale problem. We were to pick a location anywhere in the world and then design to solve a problem in and around that region. The focus is climate change and how we can serve the refugees if any.
My team and I made a list of problems that we felt were brought about climate change and decided to find sites most affected by those problems. Some of the problems we listed out were - global warming, rising sea levels, flooding, drought, desertification etc;
On looking at places affected by these problems the most, and deeply researching the socio-political conditions, economic viability and environmental conditions, we found the Yellow River in China, to be one of the sites that had almost all of the above listed problems.
The above image shows where the yellow river is located and the cities it affects.
In order to try and understand the problem first hand, my team and I decided to look at the problems in detail and try to understand its source. On doing some research, we found that a lot of the problem arose due to the human impact on the Loess Plateau. The plateau was once rich in forest land and covered in greenery. However, with increased human activity and grazing, the land was deforested and this led to the sedimentation becoming lose and allowed for erosion and flooding.
In 1994, the Chinese Government and some NGOs with the help of the world bank created a proposal to rehabilitate the Loess Plateau. They did so by dividing the proposal into 5 different parts- Planning, policy, participation, engineering and vegetation.
This massive restoration project started showing results in 2011 and this led to further problems along the river. This is because, all measures that had been put into play when the plateau caused flooding and erosion, were now void. So, new solutions, adaptive ones need to be put in play along the course of the river, Some of the problems are increased sedimentation and drought in a lot of areas.
My team and I then decided to dig deeper into the Yellow river and studied areas of maximum pollution, water stress and poverty.
The map below shows the regions along the Yellow River watershed, shows the region of water stress, sedimentation basins and different dams constructed along the river.
On overlaying Poverty and pollution charts on this map, we found that the province of Shaanxi and the regions close to the Bohai Sea are the two regions that exhibit a maximum of the problems and our aim is to provide solutions for those regions.