Yellow Sea, China - Daniel A.

My Watermark is the Yellow Sea, China.

Rizhao is a small city in Shandong, China, with a population of 2.8 million. It is located on the coastline along the Yellow Sea. It is where I was born and raised for years before moving to Canada. Thanks to the Yellow Sea, Rizhao has one of the major seaports in China. The port of Rizhao transports coal, iron ore, food, and gasoline as its primary goods and has an annual cargo tonnage of over 3.5 billion tons. The port provides a considerable amount of jobs for local residents. Tourism is also made possible because of the sea. “Blue sky, blue sea, and golden sand” is the business card of Rizhao’s tourism. Adding on to the beautiful sea, Rizhao’s tourism areas are equipped with boardwalks, watch towers, and many other recreational facilities. In 2016, Rizhao welcomes more than 40 million domestic and international tourists. Rizhao also has one of China’s best sailing facilities, which hosted numerous world class championships. Beside ports and tourism, the Yellow Sea is also home to many people in the fishing industry, boosting economic activities while providing residents and tourists with fresh seafood. This year, Rizhao produced nearly 70% of China’s blue mussel supply. The Yellow Sea also acts as a climate buffer for Rizhao. Rizhao’s year-round temperature ranges from -10 to 30 degrees Celsius. Very hot and very cold days are rare.

The Yellow Sea is very special to me. My family lives about 2 kilometers away from the shoreline. On weekends, we sometimes walk to the coast early in the morning and wait for the sun to break the night. We would also go fishing offshore with experienced crews for a day and cook our “loot” on an island. Despite my motion sickness, I still went fishing anytime I had the opportunity. When I was in primary school, I would ride a bicycle with my friends on the boardwalks along the shoreline every weekend. If we feel like riding a “long-haul”, we would ride from the southern lighthouse all the way to HaiBin National Forest Park. The forest park is a coastal nature “oxygen bar”. We would spend hours there just cycling along the shoreline and through the forest. There are also plenty of small crabs there. We could easily find them around the crab holes. If any parents came with us, we would set up a small barbecue and cook some snacks for everyone. These guys are my best friends growing up and those memories are ones that I won’t forget.

Rizhao was recognized by the UN as one of the most habitable cities in the world in 2009.

The Yellow Sea has provided Rizhao with plenty of economic opportunities as well as possibilities for development and expansion. However, these developments come at a cost to the environment. Several years ago, the largest steel mill in Shandong province moved to the Lan Shan district of Rizhao. Rizhao’s air and water quality have since declined. The harmful chemicals emitted by the mill have impacted sea water drastically. Also, there has been problems with sea lettuce management every year in Rizhao. Sometimes around the beginning of June, there’s usually an outburst of sea lettuce that requires cleaning. These sea lettuces get washed up onshore and dry out. They produce hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas, as they dry out, which not only smells bad, but could be dangerous to human in large amounts. Tourism also brings environmental problems to the Yellow Sea. Waste management has been a problem and tourists leave garbage behind after visiting. These all contribute to the decline in sea water quality in Rizhao. With practical legislations and more public awareness, Rizhao’s once beautiful shoreline could be restored.

Yellow Sea, China
Matthew Chisholm
Daniel A.

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