Friday, September 20, 2019

Three Gorges Dam :: China Nature Essays

Three Gorges Dam Director Owen Lammers calls it one of the "largest and most environmentally and socially destructive projects on Earth"(Maier, 1997). One of China’s oldest dreams is becoming its newest reality. Since 1914 the idea has arisen of damming the Yangtze River. China plans to do this with a 600-foot, cement wall which will take eleven years to complete and costs could rise to over 75 billion dollars. The dam is claimed to have many advantages for China and the Chinese. Three Gorges is expected to produce around one-tenth of the nation’s energy, without the use of coal, improving air quality. Also, the natural floods that occur with the Yangtze river will be stopped, supposedly saving thousands of lives in the future. The first thing needed to keep the project going is money, and many United States senators see this as a great opportunity for jobs, but it is also viewed as a good investment. Fortunately, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, (for the first time), "†¦denied financi ng solely on environmental grounds"(Giaccia, 1997). These advantages are easily outweighed by the disadvantages of this proposal; this monument threatens the environment, but construction will ensue. If the dam is so beneficial then why is it that all public debate on the issue has been banned since 1989, even for "†¦scientists and specialists"(Faison, 1997). This has probably been done to slow the process of or eliminate any opposition that may arise to this project. There are a few questions or "What if’s" about the dam, such as "What if the dam collapses?" or "What if during a war or conflict a bomb is dropped on the dam?" and since the dam is built on many seismic faults, will earthquakes be a problem? Besides all of these questions, there are numerous facts that should dissuade any proponent of the dam to insist on its construction. The dam besides hurting the environment, will also "†¦displace 1.3 million people."(Giaccia, 1997). These people were not asked to leave, they were told, and many of them still have not been compensated for their trouble, but this goes deeper than financial burdens. Individual rights have been violated, the government simply forc ed these people off their land and out of their homes and this affects children, families and livelihoods. Looking at the dam’s environmental harm specifically, it is clear that this project should immediately cause. "Environmentalists warn that sewage will back up and destroy the precious habitats for river dolphins, giant pandas and other rare animals.

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