La construcción de presas en los ríos de China

De todos los problemas de China, ninguno será más grave a largo plazo que el de resolver la tensión entre el desarrollo económico y la protección del medio ambiente. En ninguna parte resultan más claras las consecuencias de esa lucha que en las estribaciones del Himalaya de la provincia sudoccidental de Yunnan.

En Yunnan tienen su origen tres grandes ríos asiáticos: el Mekong, el Salween (o Nu) y el Jinsha. Todos ellos nacen en la gran meseta tibetana y corren paralelos por el ángulo nordoccidental de la provincia hasta el Asia sudoriental. Son los últimos ríos prístinos de China, pero ya están destinados al sacrifico a fin de satisfacer la insaciable sed de energía eléctrica que tiene el país. Los planes requieren la construcción de docenas de presas a lo largo de sus serpenteantes cursos por entre las montañas de Yunnan.

Yo tuve la oportunidad de ver uno de esos ríos –y la propuesta localización de una de las presas más polémicas del país– en una reciente caminata por la deslumbrante garganta del Salto del Tigre, al norte de la ciudad de Lijiang, en el norte de Yunnan. A su descenso desde el techo del mundo, el río Jinsha, tributario del imponente Yangtse, baja en cascadas por esa garganta de unos quince kilómetros camino de Shangai y el mar de la China Oriental. Si el río está –o, mejor dicho, cuando esté– cubierto de presas, contribuirá a la generación de energía eléctrica para las necesidades de las ciudades y las fábricas de la China costera.

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