River Rhine Case Study
The Rhine is only 775 miles long but it's a major artery in Europe. It flows through six countries on its way from its source in Switzerland, to the North Sea. It is heavily populated with 50 million people live along its banks in a number of major cities.
The Rhineland supports a great deal of industrial plants, and is responsible for 10% of the world's chemical production, as well as a variety of other industries including refineries, metal works, plastic and textile manufacturers.
No other waterway in the world carries as much traffic as the Rhine. Every year the river transports 40 million tons of cargo by barge and ocean-going vessels. It's navigable by pleasure boats right up to Rhinefelden in Switzerland.
The Rhine is under pressure from a variety of sources. Find out what these sources are and how they affect the river environment in the 'areas of pressure' section.
There is a number of ways the river environment is protected. Government and local and national bodies all have strategies for looking after the Rhine. The 'strategies and success' section outlines some of these strategies and explains how successful they've been.
50 million people live in the Rhine basin, most in one of the many major cities situated directly on the river or on one of its major tributaries. These cities have grown around the Rhine because of its mass of even flow water, a result of winter and spring precipitation and summer melt water. The river supports highly developed industry, trade, agriculture and transport.
Now humans use 80% of the former floodplain of the river. Roads and railways cross the areas behind the protective dykes. Urban growth has spread to the fertile river plains. The river has also been deepened in parts...