Despite being on the of the wonders of the world and attracting millions of tourists over the years, the Great Wall of China is dying. Brick by brick. Erected between 3rd century BC and 1644 AD to protect its borders, the wall snakes around North China for about 21,000 KMs or 13,000 Miles. The wall, however, is facing huge problems from brick thieves.
The poverty of general Chinese population, especially those living in the villages is well known, no matter how tight a lid the government keeps on media. It turns out that for many of these people, getting the basic building materials for their modest huts is extremely difficult. So no wonder they would turn to using the bricks of the great wall to create a roof over their heads.
There are entire Chinese towns whose houses are built solely from the bricks of the great wall. Not only that, there are a large number of brick thieves in motion who sell these bricks at a high price to collectors based on their archaeological value. Add to these factors those of the natural erosion, dust, storm, rain and snow.
All of this has taken a toll on the wall and it has been reported that 30% of the Ming era wall is not gone. Only 10% of the Ming era wall is now well preserved. Now the Chinese government has decided to take step towards preserving the remaining parts of the wall. Spot checks and inspections will be more frequent. Citizens will be provided with a hotline number so they can report and damage or miscreant activity quickly. Now it remains to be seen if these measures are indeed too little too late.