Yellow River: why is it called that? From fertilizer to landfill

  • Where is the Yellow River located?
  • Yellow River: why is it called that?
  • Pollution of the Yellow River
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The Yellow River is the main river in northern China and is also known by the name of Huang He. It is a watercourse that has always represented a very important reference point for Chinese civilization: it is one of the longest rivers in the world and its drainage basin occupies an area of ​​750,000 km². Over the years, several plots of land have been created along its course, specially placed on the banks of the Yellow River because when it overflowed it was an exceptional fertilizer. The watercourse and its tributaries have therefore always been fundamental for Chinese agriculture, but today things have changed.Pollution has also taken over in these places and today the Yellow River is becoming a landfill for industrial waste, which risks damaging everything it touches.

Where is the Yellow River located?

As we have mentioned, the Yellow River is located in northern China: it originates in eastern Tibet and precisely in the Bayan Har mountains, at an altitude of 4600 meters. From here, it crosses numerous regions: Ningxia , Inner Mongolia and Shanxi and then descends towards Henan and finally climbs up through Shandong . In this region, about 80 km from the mouth, the delta of the river begins, which finally flows into the East China Sea .Also called the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Yellow River has made the soil fertile thanks to its floods but the most important part is precisely that of the delta. Here the soil is marshy, made up of mud and silt: an exceptional natural fertilizer that made a difference in the past but which today only risks becoming harmful.

Yellow River: why is it called that?

The Yellow River is called in this way for a very specific reason: it is enough to see it live to understand it, as its color is actually yellowish. In fact, its waters are rich in silt and rather dense, so much so that it is often referred to as the muddest river in the world. However, what at first glance might seem a negative feature was actually seen as a real blessing by the Chinese population. The silt in which the Yellow River is rich is in fact an excellent natural fertilizer, which allows crops to thrive and abundant. The Yellow River is therefore called this way thanks to that mud, that silt that has made it from its origins a very important watercourse for Chinese civilization and which today is degenerating due to pollution.

Pollution of the Yellow River

Unfortunately, the Yellow River is suffering the damage of pollution and it is not the only river that has to face this huge problem. As we have already seen, the Mekong  and the Nile are also increasingly polluted and the same fate is affecting precisely that river that was considered the cradle of Chinese civilization. The industrial waste that is discharged into this stream mixes with the silt and ends up with it in the cultivated fields and lands that grow on its banks. The Yellow River, which once fertilized the land, now destroys it by sprinkling it with toxic and highly harmful waste.


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