31 Mar 2014

The nightmare on Inner Mongolia grassland

J writes:*

Inner Mongolia is a very beautiful province which has abundant resources including grassland pasture, mineral resource, cattle and sheep. In recent years, a lot of “man-made holes” appears on the grounds, which are abandoned and untreated wasted mine. The main reason is that most small mining owners are coyoting and over mining to maximize their private interest regardless the bad effect to the environment and local residence. Administrative omission is another reason. Government has not promptly monitored the mineral resource and effectively regulated the bad production activity of small mining company. These small mining owners only get the economic benefit from mining and didn't pay any cost for treatment pollution and back-fill the abandoned mines.

The above behaviors led to serious consequences [Chinese]. Firstly, the ecological environment in Inner Mongolia has been severely destroyed. Because of grassland desertification and pasture degradation, ranchers can’t graze on “holes” area; meanwhile, animals that used to live in grassland lost their home. Secondly, the residents’ living environment has been deteriorated by mining pollution. A lot of uncovered sand, blown by wind, heavily pollutes the air. Thirdly, those abandoned mines are not been back-filled which is dangerous to people and animals, who can easily fall inside the holes especially in the bad light conditions during nighttime. Lastly, the chemical residues which are used to smelt gold mines pollute the groundwater, which is a serious threat to the local people’s health.

To deal with this problem, local government must establish efficient exploitation regulations. More important is that officials should be governing mineral resource in strict accordance with the regulation. Besides, government also has to monitor miner’s production activities, punish the miner who didn't follow the rules. Mine owners not only have to pay for the pollution but also compensate local resident.

Bottom Line: Inner Mongolia’s environment has been severely destroyed.

* These guest posts are from students in my resource economics class at Simon Fraser University. Please leave feedback on their logic, ideas and style and suggestions of how to improve.