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Three Gorges Dam In China Essay

825 words - 4 pages

The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) in China is the largest hydroelectric dam ever built. This dam was built to prevent flooding, as well as produce energy. Flooding has been a huge problem in China; in fact Chinese authorities estimate that 300,000 people were killed in the 20th century's largest Yangtze River floods. But there is hope that deaths by flooding in China can be reduced. For example, in 2012 during the peak flood season, with a peak flow of 70,000 cubic meters of water per second, the TGD performed as expected by controlling the flood waters possibly saving thousands of lives. Production of power has been valuable, but the hydropower produced by the TGD produces 3% of China’s energy ...view middle of the document...

In fact, “some aquatic mammal and endemic fish species are near extinction, such as the Chinese river dolphin, the finless porpoise and the Chinese paddlefish” (Fu et al 750). The reservoir created by the TGD is also causing pollution, in turn affecting the aquatic diversity. “This is not a minor issue since more than 40% of China’s sewage and effluents are dumped into the Yangtze” (Pujol, Ren 2779). High levels of nitrogen and phosphates from this pollution lead to growth of blue algae which reduces the oxygen in the water killing fish.
Terrestrial diversity is also being affected by the TGD. Some Chinese scientists estimated that at least 34 local terrestrial communities will be partly or completely flooded, including some vegetation types that are found only in the TGD reservoir region. Entire terrestrial populations were submerged, while others were disrupted by fragmentation. Since the dam has reduced the river flow, saltwater from the east is flowing upriver ruining large areas of farmland and contaminating water supplies. Chinese government officials admit the TGD has had negative effects on biological diversity, although, they say they have stepped up in order to protect rare animal and terrestrial species. However it seems the environmental factors were not fully considered while planning the dam, now all the attempts to correct the environmental chaos are afterthoughts. The Chinese officials recently admitted “the massive hydroelectric dam, sandwiched between breathtaking...

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