Essay about The Damming of the Yangtze River

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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…show more content…
The reason for such an enormous hydro-electric project, China contends, is to generate up to 18,000MW of power for China's energy hungry industrial centers (obviously not the hundreds of factories and businesses that will be submerged), transform the Yangtze River into a more navigable waterway, and to protect the middle and lower reaches of the river from disastrous floods (Probe International). However, would the environmental and social cost of the Three Gorges Dam make it a feasible project? The man-made sea created by the dam would submerge important archaeological sites, some dating as far back as the Paleolithic Age. Thousands of invaluable relics, ancient burial sites, 200,00 year old fossils, and new information of a little known, obscure people known as the Ba will be lost (Topping, 1996). Even though $37.5 million has been "earmarked for the rescue of archaeological sites threatened by the dam's construction" (Childs-Johnson, 1996), only "ten to twenty percent of these treasures could be saved." (Topping, 1996). Estimates range from $180 million to $360 million to save ten percent of the most important sites and monuments. The Chinese government is expecting these archaeologists to do work that normally requires hundreds of years within ten years. There is simply not enough money or manpower to salvage many of these invaluable cultural

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