The Damming of the Yangtze River Essay

The Damming of the Yangtze River Essay

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The Damming of the Yangtze River

Since the 1920's, when the dam was first proposed, the Three Gorges Dam has been a topic for debate in the People's Republic of China. The construction of the world's largest hydro-electric project on the Yangtze River would be a detriment to the native flora and fauna, submerge rich farmlands, destroy archaeological sites, and force the evacuation of millions of people. Faced with international, as well as domestic, criticism about the ecological and social havoc the Three Gorges Dam would cause, the government of China has remained unnerved and has started construction on this highly questionable project. In December of 1995, Chinese Premier Li Peng officially launched the project at a construction site at Sandouping. However, the fight is not over yet since it will take close to twenty years to finish this massive water project.

The Yangtze River is the third largest river in the world, spanning a length of 6,300 kilometers. Construction of this dam would be along a 200 kilometer stretch in the upper reaches of the river known as Three Gorges. The Xiling, Wu, and Qutang Gorges, collectively called the Three Gorges, contain some off the most scenic and beautiful landscape in the world. However, with the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, most of this awe-inspiring scenery would be submerged and lost forever.

Never before has a dam of such magnitude ever been attempted in the world. The Three Gorges Dam will stretch 2-kilometers (1.3 miles) across the Yangtze River, tower 185 meters into the air (610 feet), and create a 600-kilometer (385 miles) reservoir behind it (Probe International). It will also be the most costly dam ever built once, and if, it is completed. "Estimated costs of...


... middle of paper ...


...erms of electricity and flood control. From the construction that has gone underway and from the diversion of some of the Yangtze River flow, it is obvious that the Chinese government, in its child-like "mine is bigger than yours" mentality, is determined to construct the largest megadam the world has ever seen.

Works Cited

Childs-Johnson, Elizabeth, Joan Lebold Cohen, and Lawerence R. Sullivan. (1996, November-December). Race against time. Archaeology.

Leopold, Luna B. Sediment Problems at Three Gorges Dam. Website location: http://www.irn.org/programs/3g/leopold.html

Probe International. Three Gorges Dam Campaign. Website location: http://www.nextcity.com/ProbeInternational/Three Gorges/

Topping, Audrey Ronning. Environmental controversy over the Three Gorges Dam. Earth Times News Service. Website location: http://www.earthtimes.org/chinanov11.htm

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