Sci-tech-supported green development
Sci-tech is playing a more obvious supporting role in socio-economic development and ecological progress on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is a landmark project, demonstrating the guidance given by sci-tech innovation to green development. The Golmud-Lhasa section extends 1,142 km, and construction workers were confronted with three extreme engineering problems: melting permafrost, hypoxia at high altitude, and a vulnerable ecology. As the section runs through permafrost regions for almost 546.4 km, sci-tech personnel designed and adopted such measures as replacing surface routes with viaducts, rubble ventilated embankments, ventiduct roadbeds, gravel and rubble revetments, heat conducting poles, insulation boards, and integrated waterproof and drainage systems. These were based on a great volume of observation data and previous technological achievements, ensuring the successful completion of this section. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway also runs through some national nature reserves, including Hoh Xil, Sanjiangyuan and Siling Co. To protect the living environment of Tibetan antelopes and other wild animals, 33 special passageways were added along the railway; to protect the ecological environment, a series of measures were taken, including sand hazard control, grass planting, and turf transplanting. Since the railway was brought into operation, the permafrost has been stable, and the ecology along the line is recovering, with some areas approaching or even surpassing the level of their surroundings. The achievements of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway have earned international acclaim. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in its fourth and fifth assessment reports, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway offers a successful example for other countries and regions in building “green” railways adapted to climate change. Science magazine in the United States published an article on April 27, 2007, pointing out that the railway will “ultimately promote the sustainable ecological, social, and economic development of western China”, describing it as not only an engineering accomplishment, but also “an ecological miracle”. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Project won the special award of the 2008 National Award for Scientific and Technological Progress.