The Great Wall of China is slowly disappearing as 30% of its structures vanished due to several factors including adverse natural conditions and irresponsible human activities such as stealing the bricks to build houses, according the China’s state media.
According to the report, the total length of the ruined portion of the Great Wall of China is approximately 9,000 to 21,000 kilometers. It is uncertain whether the mission sections were included in the estimate. Despite the length of ruined or missing sections of the Great Wall of China, it is not visible from space as sometimes claimed.
The Great Wall of China is consist of numerous walls made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials that stretches that thousands of miles in sections from east to west across the historical northern borders of China. The structures were built to protect China from invasions.
The Great Wall of China was built by Qin Shihuang, the first Emperor of China in 220 to 206 BC. The most extensive version of the walls, which were best preserved were those built during the Ming Dynasty—spanning 6,300 kilometers including the most visited sections located north of Beijing.
The Great Wall of China cannot withstand the constant exposure to wind and rain
According to the Beijing Times, 1,962 kilometers of the portion of the Great Wall of China built during the Ming Dynasty were gone over the centuries. Some of the walls weathered away. A survey conducted by the Great Wall of China Society indicated that plants growing in the walls contributed in the acceleration of the decay.
Don Yaohui, vice president of the Great Wall of China Society, said, “Even though some of the walls are built of bricks and stones, they cannot withstand the perennial exposure to wind and rain. Many towers are becoming increasingly shaky and may collapse in a single rainstorm in summer.”
The report also indicated that the activities of residents and tourism contribute to the destruction of the Great Wall of China, the world’s longest human construction.
According to the society, poor villagers in the northern province of Hebei knocked down a section of the Great Wall of China and took the thick gray bricks to build their houses. The locals also sold the each slab engraved with Chinese characters for 30 yuan or $3.
The Chinese government has a rule prohibiting people from taking bricks out of the Great Wall of China. People are required to pay a penalty of 5,000 yuan if caught violating the rule.
Jia Hailin, a cultural relic protection official in Hebei said there is no specific organization assigned to implement the rule. According to him, “Damage could only be reported to higher authorities, and it is hard to solve when it happened on the border of two provinces.”
The Times noted that the explorations of undeveloped parts of the Great Wall of China became an increasingly popular activity. Those sections are becoming more severely damaged because the increasing number of tourists.
China to restore key sections of the Great Wall of China
China launched a project to restore the natural environment along the key sections of the Great Wall of Qi in Shandong Province, according to a provincial heritage official.
Xie Zhixiu, head of the Shandong Heritage Administration said they are developing a construction plan for the cultural and scenic area of the Great Wall of Qi, the oldest section in the Great Wall of China.
The first phase of the project covers 18 sections or 61 kilometers of the Great Wall of Qi. The restoration will cost 208 million yuan of $34 million.
The Great Wall of China was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987.