Three Gorges Dam Project Poses ‘Urgent’ Problems, China Admits

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The Chinese government has issued a statement admitting that the controversial Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower plant and a centerpiece engineering project for the nation, has numerous problems that are “urgently in need of resolution.”

In the statement, the state council acknowledged that the 600-foot-tall dam, completed in 2006 on the Yangtze River to provide a new source of renewable energy, has produced troubling ecological, human, and geological impacts downriver.

The 1.5-mile barrier produces the electricity equivalent of about 500 Chinese coal-fired power plants, but that energy production has come at enormous human and environmental costs. In addition to the relocation of 1.4 million people and the flooding of more than 1,000 towns and villages, the project has triggered pollution-fueled algae blooms in the reservoir area, landslides, and erosion of slopes.

“Problems emerged at various stages of project planning and construction but could not be solved immediately, and some arose because of increased demands brought on by economic and social development,” the statement says. The government offered no specific plans to address the problems.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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