Positive and negative effects of the Three Gorges dam project in China

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The Three Gorges Dam can be found in China, specifically in Asia.

The Three Gorges Dam in China, situated between Chongqing and Wuhan along the River Yangtze, is anticipated to finish construction by November 2009. With a length of 6300 km, the River Yangtze ranks as the third longest river globally and passes through seven cities: Wuhan, Yichang, Wanxian, Nanjing, Chongqing, Liuzhou, and Zhenjiang. The main objective behind the dam’s construction is to safeguard against the River Yangtze’s devastating and unpredictable floods.

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The primary purpose of building the Three Gorges Dam in 1998 was to prevent future floods that had caused the loss of more than 3000 lives. Additionally, the dam was constructed with the goals of promoting economic prosperity, environmental conservation, and poverty alleviation. By generating hydroelectric power, this infrastructure has yielded several positive outcomes.

Hydro-electric power (HEP), which is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly source of electricity, powers fridges, lights, and television without emitting CO2. The HEP dams in China are expected to generate 14% of the country’s future electric-power. This is equivalent to the output of 18 nuclear power stations.

The Harness Energy Project (HEP) aims to tackle the scarcity of natural resources and enhance the well-being of underprivileged individuals. Through a 50 million ton reduction in coal burning, HEP will effectively mitigate carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million tons. Furthermore, as part of its expansion to different cities, HEP will provide citizens with state-of-the-art facilities that foster eco-friendly urban lifestyles.

Infrastructure will be improved, encompassing sewage, transport, electricity, schools, colleges, housing, and telephone communication. The dam is crucial for safeguarding 11 major cities and towns situated on the river’s flood plain from catastrophic floods. A notable instance of a destructive flood occurred in 1998 and resulted in reconstruction costs amounting to �500 million. Additionally, it caused the demise of factories that were vital for job creation and sustaining China’s economy.

The flood resulted in 14 million people becoming homeless, with 5 million houses destroyed and 25 million hectares of farmland being affected. Due to the government’s decrease in farmland availability, individuals will be compelled to move to urban areas. This shift to cities is beneficial as it allows for a higher standard of living compared to rural regions (rural to urban migration).

This will create opportunities for people to access improved education and housing. Additionally, it will promote the development of the impoverished inland region, ultimately benefiting China as a whole. Furthermore, this expansion will enable ships to transport goods with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes. Consequently, China will establish itself as the world’s largest city and port for both imports and exports.

The construction of the Chinese dam has turned China into a formidable nation, enabling its citizens to participate in lucrative commerce and expedite the exchange of goods. This remarkable edifice, erected at a expense of �15 billion, is not only the biggest globally but also observable from space, drawing tourists worldwide.

This is the largest structure constructed in the past two centuries, rivaling even the Great Wall of China. Its creation has led to the formation of an enormous lake spanning 600km. Consequently, the government anticipates increased revenue as this dam now serves as a new tourist attraction. Moreover, it will open up job opportunities in recreation and fishing industries.

Despite not being fully completed, the dam attracts a significant number of visitors each week, reaching 15,000 individuals. This influx of tourists brings potential benefits to the less privileged as it creates more job opportunities such as tour guides. However, the Three Gorges Dam also has numerous adverse effects.

Due to the dam, a vast expanse of fertile farmland spanning 60,000 hectares will be submerged, along with 828 significant cultural archaeological sites, picturesque Buddhist temples, and an exceptional limestone landscape that is renowned worldwide for its beauty. The dissolution of limestone in water poses a potential concern, as it may impact the dam. Additionally, the construction of the dam will result in the displacement of 1.2 million residents from 11 major towns, 114 small towns, and 1711 villages, forcing them to relocate against their will (forced migration).

The flooding of the dam will have an adverse impact on crop cultivation as it leads to soil erosion. The Yangtze River is vital for agriculture in China, accounting for 70% of its rice harvest and contributing 50% to overall food production. As a result, the fertile flood plain that supports the growth of important crops such as barley, wheat, corn, and cotton will be negatively affected. Consequently, farmers will face additional challenges.

People will encounter difficulties in maintaining their livelihoods and supporting their families due to the displacement resulting from the flooding of the Yangtze river flood plain. This flood plain is highly populated as it serves a vital purpose in supplying fresh water for agricultural activities benefiting millions of individuals. While the government provides compensation for homes and farmland lost, the available housing alternatives are excessively costly and have been influenced by corruption and crime, leading to inadequately constructed structures.

The corruption within the Government involves the embezzlement of funds intended for farmers and the construction of new houses for homeless individuals, depriving them of the deserved compensation. Despite some individuals receiving compensation, it is not voluntary but rather forced relocation. Consequently, two officials from Chongqing, a significant city, were executed for embezzling the compensation funds. The government suffered a loss of $52 million allocated for people’s resettlement compensation.

The concerns of citizens revolve around their ability to afford relocation. If the construction of the dam ceases and the demolition and reconstruction of villages no longer occur, there may be a scarcity of employment opportunities. This is especially worrisome considering the limited availability of fertile land for farming. Consequently, individuals could be forced to migrate to cities where unemployment rates are already high. This situation potentially leaves people without financial resources, jobs, or homes. Furthermore, constructing the dam will impede the downstream flow of silt, jeopardizing the survival of the rare Yangtze River dolphin which heavily relies on it. Fishermen will consequently encounter significant challenges in this profession.

If the accumulation of silt and sediment at the bottom of the lake is not addressed, it will result in the lake filling up. This will cause a decline in fish catch for fishermen downstream and lead to the HEP turbines ceasing to function. Removing the accumulated silt from the deep lake would be financially burdensome, making it an unsustainable practice in the long term. Ultimately, as silt and sediment gradually accumulate in the dam, it will eventually clog up the turbine and contribute to further filling of the lake.

The restriction in water flow due to the accumulation of silt and sediment will disrupt the functionality of the HEP system, consequently preventing downstream fishermen from catching fish. Additionally, the removal of these natural deposits from the lake will result in significant financial expenses. The implications are grave for both porting businesses, who will face challenges in transportation, and fish-based businesses, who will lose their ability to capture fish.

The construction of the dam will greatly affect wildlife in the area, leading to approximately 70 species facing extinction due to changes in water temperature, the surrounding environment, and limited resources. Additionally, wildlife that has adapted well to the ecosystem along the River Yangtze will be forced out of their natural habitats and forced to adapt to new environments. Unfortunately, it is the less fortunate citizens of China who will be disproportionately affected by these negative consequences, highlighting once again the government’s lack of equality when considering its people’s welfare.

The provided cost analysis information is distorted due to the inclusion of biased viewpoints. One particular viewpoint implies that diminishing new farmland aims to promote rural-to-urban migration, relocating people to cities instead. This tactic, along with improved education, is considered crucial in elevating peasants from poverty to a more contemporary society. Nonetheless, this perspective overlooks the drawbacks of this strategy. It is essential to recognize that this standpoint reflects the government’s position and emphasizes its possible disadvantages.

They are not addressing the relocation of families or the corruption in compensation and unfairness. On our analysis of costs and benefits, we have five points in favor of the dam, while the farmers only have two, indicating bias in the analysis. However, the farmers present six points against the dam without bias. In conclusion, we believe that the Three Gorges Dam is detrimental (cost) as it negatively impacts a significant number of people.

It is affecting the people of China while the government remains unaffected and continues to grow richer. After conducting a cost and benefit analysis, we have reached the conclusion that the Three Gorges Dam is detrimental to China. Our analysis resulted in a score of 26 for costs and 25 for benefits. However, we had already formed a well-founded opinion that the Three Gorges Dam brings more harm than good. Therefore, considering all aspects, we believe that the Three Gorges Dam is harmful for China.

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Positive and negative effects of the Three Gorges dam project in China. (2017, Sep 03). Retrieved from


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