Given the large size of China, it definitely needs a consistent energy supply that can satisfy its needs. This is the primary reason of the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. Since it was built, the dam was then surrounded by controversy and intrigue, as many people turned against the ambitious and enormous project that man ever attempted because of environmental and social consequences. The question at hand is, “Is the gigantic hydroelectric dam and the energy it generates worth the cost of environmental and social consequences?” Let us look at its pros and cons.
List of Pros of the Three Gorges Dam
1. It powers up a huge country.
Holding the title of the largest population in the world, China needs a sufficient energy source that can support its flourishing industry, busy economy and ever growing society. One big benefit gained from the Three Gorges Dam is the high amounts of power it is producing. In fact, it is the biggest producer of power in the world.
It is an answer to the power needs of the country, which have been consistently rising exponentially every year. The dam has been able to satisfy such needs by adding new generators and turbines, as the use of electricity continues to go on the rise. The structure is so powerful that it can supply sufficient electricity to power up the entire country on its own.
2. It offers 18 nuclear power plants.
The Three Gorges Dam can produce a massive amount of power that can reach 18.2 gW of electrical power. This amount of energy can keep the country from using resources that depend on fossil fuels that would harm the environment technically.
3. It is a sustainable source of energy.
China has created a stable source of powerful energy that, even if fossil fuel supply runs out, the country still has a dependable option for electrical source.
4. It is a renewable form of energy.
The dam takes advantage of the environment, where the energy it produces is derived from a renewable source.
5. It helps with flood control.
The dam’s system can control and manage water flow, so it is also serving as an alternative and multi-purpose structure that can produce an enormous amount of power, while at the same time controlling natural disaster.
6. It is eco-friendly.
Because the Three Gorges Dam uses a natural element to generate electricity, it is not emitting carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to the atmosphere.
7. It serves as an income-generating project.
This enormously ambitious project is bringing income to the locals and to the country as a whole. As it welcomes more and more visitors every year, it is giving China an additional economic break.
8. It helps with cruise ship navigation.
One advantage of the Three Gorges Dam that is more likely unnoticed is being a great help to cruise ship navigation. With its installment of ship locks and ship lifts, it allows for safer travel for cruise ships.
9. It created a wider transport network.
The dam widened the river, making it more navigable than ever. These days, larger boats and ships can pass through to the delta, resulting to a more complex but beneficial transport network for people and goods.
List of Cons of the Three Gorges Dam
1. It forces relocation of locals.
The construction of the Three Gorges Dam forced the relocation and displacement of many locals, which generally implies that they are not totally benefited by the project. This is certainly true thinking how can they really gain profit when they were not even compensated fairly for their transfer?
2. It creates a negative environmental impact.
According some critics, the environmental benefits some people were saying were just to cover up more serious environmental effects, such as erosion, the death of river life and submerged lands in nearby areas. Moreover, the dam is threatening the lives of a huge number of animal species, including the Yangtze dolphins.
3. It causes water pollution.
Water pollution is an ever growing problem in the country because of the use of the Three Gorges Dam. There is quite a lot of land erosion along the Yangtze River, particularly taking place upstream, which results in high amounts of water pollution.
4. It left a dreary landscape.
While the dam is serving a good purpose, its area’s landscape had to change to accommodate such a large structure. The changes include uprooting and damaging trees, as well as removing animals that were once native to the region.
5. It is inefficient at energy allotment.
The energy generated by the dam might not be used properly due to the unproductive approach used by the country when it comes to producing power. In addition, its power allotment design is intended for urban population, which means it would deprive those in the rural communities.
6. It destroyed vital arachnological sites.
Due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, approximately thousands of arachnological sites were destroyed forever. Historical architecture, natural land formations and ancient cities are completely underwater now. While the country has taken certain measures to help preserve these artifacts, all of them were in vain.
7. It can trigger earthquakes and landslides.
With its massive structure and trillions of pounds in weight of its concrete, generators and water, not to mention its immense processes, the Three Gorges Dam is speculated to cause earthquakes and landslides. This means this facility can cause danger for the neighboring villages and communities.
Before deciding for yourself if the Three Gorges Dam is the best solution to produce energy for China, you must weigh down its pros and cons, as well as the facts. Also, you have to approach both sides of the argument without bias. After doing so, you will be able to reach a more conclusive view on this hot subject. Comparing advantages and disadvantages can always help you choose your own side in any argument.