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Even Though The Three Gorges Dam Hydropower Plants In China Produce Energy And Prevent Flooding, The Dam Is Now Threatening China's Biodiversity

837 words - 4 pages

The Three Gorges Dam in China is the largest hydroelectric dam ever built. The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) was built to prevent flooding, as well as produce energy. Flooding has plagued the Yangtze for centuries; Chinese authorities estimate that some 300,000 people were killed in the 20th century's largest Yangtze River floods. In 2012 during the peak flood season, with a peak flow of 70,000 cubic meters of water per second (Angela), the TGD performed as expected controlling the floodwaters, from flooding the Yangtze saving thousands of lives. Production of power has been as inclusive as preventing flooding, “the hydropower produced by the TGD will supply only produce 3% of Chinas energy needs ...view middle of the document...

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Plant diversity is also being affected by the TGD; some Chinese scientists have estimated that at least 34 local plant communities will be partly or completely flooded, including some vegetation types that are found only in the TGD reservoir region. Entire plant populations were submerged, while others were disrupted by fragmentation. Because the dam has reduced the river flow, saltwater from the east is flowing upriver ruining large areas of farmland and contaminating water supplies. Not only rare and threatened species, but also taxa with uses in medicine, as food or with economical potential will be lost. According to Chinese Government Officials, they admit the TGD has had negative effects on biological diversity, but they say they have “stepped up” to “protect rare animal and plant species.” I feel this is part of the problem, while planning the dam; the environmental factors were not full considered; now all the attempts to correct the environmental chaos are afterthoughts. According to an article in Scientific America “Chinese officials staged a sudden about-face, acknowledging for the first time that the massive hydroelectric dam, sandwiched between breathtaking cliffs on the Yangtze River in central China, may be triggering landslides, altering entire ecosystems and causing other serious environmental problems—and, by extension, endangering the millions who live in its shadow.” [By Mara Hvistendahl].

This is not to say the efforts now are not needed, but rather, is it too late? Has the TGD affected the environment so severely, it cannot be undone? Even now,...

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