To what extent is the Three Gorges Dam sustainable?
The Three Gorges Dam was built in 2011 on the Yangtze River in an area called Chongqing. It was built to prevent flooding of main industrial areas in China following the major flood in 1998 of the river. The dam is 1.4 miles long and is able to produce 18,000 MW of electricity. Sustainability is when environment, society and economy are all stable and balanced, so that progress can be made. The Three Gorges Dam has had a big impact on these areas in China. But to what extent is it sustainable? In some ways, the dam is a sustainable project. It helps society by providing jobs and giving compensation to aid those who have to relocate. The huge amount of hydroelectric power produced by it is equivalent to that of 18 coal power stations. So it is benefitting the environment due to the decreased emissions of CO2. Another advantage would be that the dam would provide cheaper electricity so this would strengthen the economy. However, there are many reasons why the Three Gorges Dam project is very unsustainable. The jobs that are provided for society are only temporary whilst it is being constructed.100 towns were submerged and 1.3 million people were relocated. Many people will be forced into unemployment, especially those who depend on the river for their livelihood (fishing, farming etc.). It isn’t sustainable for the environment as 60,500 acres of land has been submerged and many species such as the Yangtze dolphin and the Chinese sturgeon are now critically endangered. Clay sediment has been left behind which makes farming impossible even in some areas that aren’t submerged. Rotting vegetation which is submerged can create methane, a harmful gas. As well as this, it is unsustainable for the economy as 13 major cities were flooded and thousands of businesses need to find new premises and homes. To conclude, I think that the Three Gorges Dam is unsustainable. Although it produces a huge amount of hydroelectricity,...
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