The Qinghai-Tibet Railway: A landmark project and its subsequent environmental challenges

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The first part of this paper reviews the environment-friendly techniques implemented when the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was built. They include (1) state-of-the-art techniques to protect the permafrost in the subgrade of the railway embankment; (2) measures to avoid disturbing the species in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau; (3) efforts to minimize the disturbance of the grassland and wetland; and (4) regulation to ensure the environmental disposal of the construction waste. The second part presents the subsequent environmental challenges which, after the operation of the railway, potentially risk the fragile ecological and environmental system in the plateau. The challenges come from the skyrocketing tourists, expansive natural resource exploitation, the long-term efficiency of permafrost-protected measure, and climatic warming. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Environment, Development and Sustainability