The River Rhine Essay Sample

The River Rhine Pages
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Activity 1

1.The Rhine is considered hugely important to European trade as it flow through a large section of Western Europe so many countries can receive produce via the river. Also there are numerous numbers of factories along the river so they need a quick an affective way to ship there produce out of the country. Finally the Rhine flows into one of the worlds largest commercial ports at Rotterdam.

2a. Most of the Rhine’s tributaries meet the Rhine in low areas of the river valley.

2b. This could cause problems in period of heavy rain as these low areas of ground just become giant flood plains causing millions of pounds worth of damage. 3a. Rock and hardcore earth are the most frequently carried, then comes ores and scrap metals which is closely followed by mineral oil products, then there are chemical products iron and steel then food and animal products, agricultural products fertilisers and machinery and vehicles. Finally with very little trade on the river is coal.

3b. Companies chose to export there produce via river barges as they contain a lot more than lorries so one boat load may take three times as long as a lorry but it carries three times as much

3c. It takes four days more as when travelling towards Basel the boats have to go against the current, and the Rhine’s current I extremely strong especially during the snow melt or after heavy rain.

3d. It is impossible for boats to get any further than Basel as after Basel the river starts to go into mountainous regions which are totally impracticable for barges as they are not build to go up mountain sides in babbling brooks.

4. The reason there are so many hydro-electric stations is exactly the reason why there are so few boats. This is that the water is moving very quickly downstream so is therefore perfect for turning turbines.

Activity 2

1a. In 1828 the river seems to have been given freedom to flow all over the area the 1872 maps shows that the area is starting to be taken under control but the river still has many possible courses and a large floodplain area. By 1963 the river is under total human control there are flood control schemes in place so the river will not flood. All through the maps you can also notice that the neighbouring towns are all growing in size, this shows that people are running out of places and are having to live in flood plains.

1b. Straightening the river makes it flow a lot faster so therefore the Rhine has a very fast current and be very suitable for hydro-electric power stations.

1c. Replacing meadows and marshland with industrial and residential estates is a problem as not only does it harm wildlife and ruin the areas natural beauty it is also far more expensive to replace house and factories when the river floods than it is to replace trees.

2. The Nineteenth century attempt at flood control would not have worked for shipping as the modern version has a deeper channel allowing bigger boats through and also during times of flood the river is practicable. Also the river flows faster making the boats journeys faster.

3a. The 1930’s version of flood protection was to protect the meadow and marshland, this would probably be so that they could build on the land.

3b. A faster flowing current is very dangerous as if a person falls into the river they are likely to be sucked under the water by the under-current and they will drown. Also if the river levees do happen to break the water will flow out very quickly given people less time to evacuate there properties.

4a. There were 2 main factors which caused the Rhine to flood Manheim the first of these was that the Rhine’s water level was already very high due to the alpine snow melt. The second problem was that the river Neckar also flows into Manheim so there were two full rivers meeting causing a huge flood.

4b Insurance companies are refusing to insure riverside properties as every time the river floods they have to shell out large wads of cash so they are losing large amounts of money.

5a. The advantage of constructing barrages is that it creates power, the disadvantage is that it ruins the landscape. The advantage of providing overflow areas is that it would stop all floods and give land back to nature; the disadvantage is that settlements would have to be move. Raising the levees would be good as the river would stay to only one channel; the disadvantage is that the river will flow even faster making it extremely dangerous. Returning residential areas to be returned to meadow and marshland is the same as providing an overflow area. Constructing dams is good as you can get power from dams and you can also remove water to be cleaned for drinking, the problem is that dams aren’t overly nice to look at and they are very costly to build.

5b. I think that the best option is the idea of damming the tributaries, this is because it may be very costly but it is probably less costly than relocating hundreds of people and factories. Also the fact that you can get power and drinking water from dams is very useful.

Activity 3

1a. The areas around Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Strasbourg and Frankfurt are all very polluted due to the fact the figure three shows that the grand majority of the pollution load around Koblenz is due to industry and there are main industrial sites around these cities.

1b. All sorts of industries are found some of these are plastics chemicals, oil refining etc..

1c. A lot of pollution is found around the main industrial sites this is mainly nitrates, phosphates etc… Surprisingly thought the grand majority of pollution is found in and around Rotterdam.

1d. The main reason for this is that contaminated mud is being kept around Rotterdam as it cannot be dumped into the sea until it is fully dredged This could also be due to the fat that there are not many water testing areas around the Rhine so the pollution is only picked up around the Netherlands. Also it is because the pollution is carried downstream by the river.

1e. The Rhine action program has stopped pollution by the laws that companies are having to stop discharging toxic waste into the river, this had reduced large amounts of pollution by 1989.

2. There would be less damage done as early warning systems would pick up on the accident and stop the contamination before it got out of hand. Also there would be no dead fish floating around the surface as there are no more fish in the Rhine.

3. The main obstacle for the salmon would trying to avoid the turbines of hydro-electric power stations.

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