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Project December 3, 2015

The Blue Nile: a Profile of a River Under Attack


Image by Jonathan Rashad. Ethiopia, 2015.

For those living along the banks of the world's longest waterway, it's almost inconceivable that anything could impede the flow of the mighty Nile. Near its source, the river violently sweeps all before it as it gushes through the highlands. Up north, not even massive dam projects have tamed the waters as they meander through the Sahara.

The Nile is, however, grappling with an ever growing series of problems that threaten to irreparably damage one of the African continent's most important water sources.

Starting at the source of the Blue Nile near Laka Tana in Ethiopia, journalist Peter Schwartzstein and photographers Jonathan Rashad and Leyland Cecco follow the water to the Sudanese border, before continuing up to Khartoum by boat, bus, and on foot. They pass the cataracts, go through Lake Nasser in Egypt, and carry on all the way back up to the Nile Delta alongside the Mediterranean.

Along the way, they chart the effects of climate change, massive population growth in all three countries, and the environmental and political fallout of serious dam construction. They also explore the consequences of Ethiopia and Sudan's sale of prime Nile-side agricultural land to foreign governments, while delving into the challenges increased use of fertilizer and other industrial products pose for the river's water quality.


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Environment and Climate Change

Environment and Climate Change