Many of you have probably heard about the plan by HKND to build a transoceanic canal through Nicaragua. There are a myriad of articles out there offering predictions about the Nicaragua Canal.
Many of those predictions have to do with the potential environmental impact, but others focus on the economic boon the canal could represent for Nicaragua's economy, one of the smallest in the Western Hemisphere.
There really isn't any one perspective that dominates the discussion. It's almost as if the canal represents something different to each person. To some, it is a project expected to double Nicaragua's GDP and create thousands upon thousands of jobs. To others, it comes at the cost of tourism, as some popular sites lie along the proposed route.
More than that, those tourism sites are popular specifically due to their environmental beauty and biodiversity. The Nicaragua Canal's construction will pass through Lake Nicaragua, one of the largest and most ecologically important lakes in the world.
A huge portion of Nicaragua's drinking water is pulled from this "Sweet Sea," as it was known by the Spanish, and many worry that workers will need to blast and dredge the bottom of the lake. This process can kick up sediment and even toxic chemicals under the ground that kill fish and could render the water undrinkable for years.
HKND and the Nicaraguan government have both stated that they will not blast in the lake, and that preservation of the environment will be a top priority, but some remain skeptical. Many of the details of the project are being held close to the vest, including economic and environmental specifics.
For instance, who will pay for the Nicaragua Canal? While the Chinese government has denied involvement, news outlets are routinely questioning from where HKND's financial backing will come
As of this writing, it is hard to make a judgment on the project. The benefits of even just the proposed ports on each end could be huge, but grave consequences could await in the event of mismanagement. For now, stay tuned for updates on the canal. It is certainly an interesting development, and for the first time in many years it seems that the eyes of the world are on Nicaragua.