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Three Gorges Dam in China - Essay Example

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The recently commissioned Three Gorges Dam in China has caught the attention of the public not only in China, but all over the world because of the controversies surrounding the construction of this dam…
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Three Gorges Dam in China
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Download file to see previous pages Even though, Chinese authorities describe the construction of this dam as a landmark, many of the environmentalists questioned such claims. It is a fact that this dam is the blend of social, engineering and economic successes; however the controversies surrounding the construction of this dam are still creating headaches to the Chinese authorities. “The massive project sets records for number of people displaced (more than 1.2 million), number of cities and towns flooded (13 cities, 140 towns, 1,350 villages), and length of reservoir (more than 600 kilometers)”1. Moreover many of the wild life lost its habitat as a result of the construction of this dam. Ecological problems, high risk of landslides, etc are some other issues raised by the critics of this dam. This paper briefly analyses the history, statistics and the environmental impact this dam has had on the area surrounding its location. “The Three Gorges Dam spans the Yangtze River at Sandouping, Yichang, Hubei province, China. Construction began in 1993”2. It is the biggest hydroelectric power station in the world at present with a capacity to produce 18200 MW electric powers. It was partly commissioned in 2008 and is expected to be fully operational by 2012. It is expected that the when it is fully operational, its capacity may reach 22500 MW of electric power. This dam was constructed for multipurpose. Even though the major purpose of constructing this dam was to find an answer to the huge energy crisis facing by China, prevention of flood, increasing shipping capacity etc were some other major objectives behind the construction of this dam. The major criticism labelled against hydroelectric power projects all over the world is about the environmental problems such projects can generate. Since Three Gorges Dam is the biggest in its category, the environmental problems produced by it cannot be neglected. As in the cases of other hydroelectric power projects in the world, the environmental impacts of this dam could be more visible as time goes on. The submergence of hundreds of factories, mines and waste dumps, and the presence of massive industrial centres upstream are creating a festering bog of effluent, silt, industrial pollutants and rubbish in the reservoir. Erosion of the reservoir and downstream riverbanks is causing landslides, and threatening one of the world’s biggest fisheries in the East China Sea. The weight of the reservoir's water has many scientists concerned over reservoir-induced seismicity3 Yangtze River is the third biggest river in the world and its coastal areas are highly fertile and heavily populated. “The world's largest dam will flood over 62,000 acres of farmland, 13 major cities, 140 large, and hundreds of small villages along the river's banks, necessitating the evacuation and relocation of over one million people”4. The wild life around the coastal areas of Yangtze River lost its habitat along with millions of people. The beautiful landscape which was earlier filled with a variety of agricultural crops, converted into an ocean which may become an ocean of waste as time goes on, as a result of the construction of this dam. “Water quality in the main reservoir remained stable, but pollution was worsening in tributaries because of high levels of nitrates and phosphates that had already endangered drinking water in some areas”5. In other words, not only the water inside the dam, drinking water sources in the neighbourhood of this dam also could be polluted as result of the construction of this dam. “According to a CNN article, one billion tons of sewage will flow into the reservoir each year. Pollution in the river itself will increase, as the dam will slow water flow, stopping the river’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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