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China’s headlong rush into the modern world may involve a heavy price in terms of environmental damage: Discuss.

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Introduction

China's headlong rush into the modern world may involve a heavy price in terms of environmental damage: Discuss. For China to prosper in the global economy it must increase its economic strength. One of these key elements is to be the development of the countries infrastructure. As China develops it urban centres, new factories, offices and homes along with it push into the modern world, it has created an increase in the countries power demand. China to avoid burning large quantities of fossil fuels for power, causing massive pollution problems, must look to develop other sources of power resources. Hydroelectric power produced by dams is a clean, renewable energy source that China is keen to embrace. The focus of this essay will be to look at the impact from China's rush into the modern world in terms of environmental damage and in particular the massive Three Gorges Dam project. To China's leaders the project will propel the nations economy into the 21st century. It will not only provide the energy needed by the ever growing population and economy, but it is proposed to increase shipping and commerce along the Yangtze River, and in so bringing economic opportunities to people in the middle of the country. Although there is a great deal of government support for this gigantic project, it is also extremely controversial and there are many problems associated with the building of the dam. These range from the loss of natural treasures, the displacement and relocation of whole populations, to serious design problems and silting considerations. The damming of the Yangtze River has become to be seen as a symbol of national unity and strength for the ruling government and as such many of these problems and controversies surrounding the project are ignored or at best glossed over. The Premier Li Peng, who by training is a power engineer, said the scale of the project was a proof to the world of China's new found strength "The damming of the Yangtze is ...read more.

Middle

"Opponents of the three gorges dam project point out the degree of mutual exclusion between a flood prevention dam and a power generating dam." (Edmonds, 1994) pg.83. The International Rivers Network President Phil Williams says "It's a hydroelectric dam, not a flood control dam" and he contends that the chances of flooding up river from the dam will increase because of heavy sediment build up. After two years of damaging floods in 1998 and 1999, the Chinese central government agreed to commit RMB 10Billion (US$ 1.2 Billion) a year over the next five years to flood control and prevention measures in the Yangtze River basin. In addition top strengthening the dikes and embankments and dredging the rivers channels, the funds were to be used to provide for reforestation, soil conservation and relocation of people out of flood prone areas. But still the regional water authorities are staking their long term strategies on the dam. The Economic Times reported 1st November 1999 that 36 such projects were under progress, "of which five involved improvements to the river channel and the rest were dike improvements." Farmers are now prohibited from farming on hillsides with slopes steeper than 25 degrees, unless the slopes are properly terraced, although it is not clear how this ban is being imposed. Due to the six of the dam and the cut back in flow further down the river Yangtze, a number of climate changes are likely to take place. The climate around the dam could well led to a slight moderation of the winters and cooling of the summers by a degree or two due to the size body of water behind it. This stable and moderate climate could well lead to new crops being grown in and around the area, such as the cultivation of citrus trees. "Proponents suggest that the new landscape formed by the reservoir will be beautiful with the added benefits of a larger water surface for the Yangtze Sturgeon. ...read more.

Conclusion

Along with this a clean new source of electric power will open up more of China to modernisation and development, and river cargo transportation will be expanded and made more affordable. These achievements will help propel what in many ways is a Third World country into the 21st century circle of wealthy nations. Reference List. Boxer, B. (1988): China's Three Gorges Dam: Questions and Prospects, The China Quarterly, Vol.113, p.99. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, (2001): It Could Get Hotter In Japan Thanks to Three Gorges Dam, http://www.ametsoc.org/AMS/ pubs/jnl/jrnldescrip.html#bams. Accessed September 22nd 2001. Chris Catton, (1992): Tears of the Dragon - China's Environmental Crisis, Channel 4 Television, (Incomplete reference P.C) Caufield, C. (1998): Development: Hollow Promise, The Guardian, 18th March, p.5. Caldwell, M. (1977): China and the Environment, Progress in Planning, Vol.8, Pt.2, pp.103-109. Delf, R. (1990): China's River 1: Wealth and Woe, Far Eastern Economic Review, 15th March, p.23. Edmonds, R.L. (1994): Patterns of China's Lost Harmony: A Survey of the Countries Environmental Degradation and Protection, Routledge, London. Fearnside, P.M. (1988): China's Three Gorges Dam. Fatal Project or Step Towards Modernisation?, World Development, Vol.16, pp.615-630. Gittings, J. (1999): Great Yangtze Dam in Trouble, The Guardian, 25th May, p.16. Jianguo, Y. (1993): Yangtze River Valley: A Soaring Dragon, Beijing Review, Vol.36, No.7, pp... MacDougal, C. (1989): Floods of the Yangtze Lay Siege to China's Main Rice Bowl, The Times, (Incomplete reference P.C) McCully, P. (2000): Lies, Dam Lies. The Guardian, 22nd November, p.9. Naitao, W. (1994): Population Relocation for the Three Gorges Project, Beijing Review, Vol.37, No.4, pp... Ning, L. (2000): Three Gorges Project Sees Smooth Progress, Beijing Review, Vol.47, No.3, The Economic Times, November 1st 1999. (Incomplete Reference). Tregear, T.R. (1980): China: A Geographical Survey., Halsted Press, New York. Wei, H. (1993): Blueprint for Yangtze Valley Progress in 90's, Beijing Review, Vol.36, No.26, Williams, P.B (1994) :Flood Control vs. Flood Management, Civil Engineering, May, pp. 51-54. Zi, M. (2000): Three Gorges: The Ecology and Environment, Beijing Review, Vol.43, No.29, Xinhau News Agency, www.xinhau.org. Accessed September 22nd 2001. ...read more.

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