China: Hulunbuir Grassland Destroyed by Coal Mining Activities

Hulunbuir Grassland, located in the northeast of Inner Mongolia, provides beautiful scenery of vast grassland, forests, rivers and lake where the Mongolian shepherds herd their cattle and sheep. It is also a famous tourist site. However, as a result of coal mining near the surface of the ground, the grassland is eroding rapidly.

The vanishing Hulunbuir Grassland

On September 12, 2012, a Shanghai based micro-blogger, Baoyi, posted [zh] a number of photos in his Weibo and urged others to pay attention:


This post has been deleted many times, please help by forwarding it quickly. Hulunbuir Grassland is one of the most famous grasslands in the world. There are more than 120 kinds of grass in this piece of land, including meadow, wheat, alfalfa and spear grass. That's why it is known as the “shepherd's kingdom”. It is also a tourist spot in summer, when you can see blue sky, green land, and shepherds riding horses freely on a huge piece of land. However the coal mining industry is destroying everything here.
Hulunbuir Grassland destroyed by coal mining activities. Baoyi's Weibo Photos.

Hulunbuir Grassland destroyed by coal mining activities. Baoyi's Weibo Photos.

Famous blogger, Zhai Ming Lei, joined [zh] the discussion:


This is too tragic. Hulunbuir Grassland is one of the two pieces of grasslands left in Inner Mongolia (the other one is Xilin Gol). It has been well preserved. Who decided to do coal mining here? This is such a stupid decision. How can the authorites gives up such a precious piece of grassland but spend so much energy on a small island [referring to the Diaoyu Island conflict].

Zhai explained [zh] the ecological conditions in the grassland:

草原为啥挖不得,内 草原黑土层很薄,薄的地方甚至只有半米。黑土下面就是古海洋的沙层。所以草原很容易沙化。现在保护还来不及,来挖矿是加速沙化。加速 沙尘暴。尼玛的,当地政府人员死绝了吗?没人管吗?

How come we can't dig the grassland? The top layer of the soil is very thin, as thin as 0.5 meter. Below the soil is a sand layer from the ancient ocean bed. That's why the grassland is easily subjected to sandification. We should have spent all our effort to protect it. Now the mining activities will increase the speed of desertification and the sand storms. Are all government officials dead? How come no one is handling this?

He added [zh]:


The Mongolians have never dug their land since the ancient time. They don't even dig wells to get water. They see the land as their mother and sky as their father and will never dig up their land. They don't even eat the roots of any vegetation. The mining activities is not only a destruction of the natural environment, but also a cultural invasion. (Looking back in history, the first well was opened during the Sino-Japanese War when the Japan army invaded Manchuria and they were worried that the Chinese army would add poison the lake. Now the situation is much worse than during war time.) Stop the crime in the grassland!


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