Pros and Cons of Three Gorges Dam


The Three Gorges Dam is considered as the world’s largest hydroelectric power station and a dam with a gargantuan size. Said to be one-and-a-half miles wide and has a towering height of 600 feet, the hydropower turbines can generate electricity as much as 18 nuclear power plants can. However, this project did not escape scrutiny with people who are for and against its construction arguing about the impact of this monumental dam. Here are some of the views expressed by both sides.

List of Pros of Three Gorges Dam

1. Source of Electric Power
Advocates for the construction of Three Gorges Dam claim that this project will become China’s most important source of energy, given its size and demand. With the continuous growth of China’s economy and population, energy requirement also increases and this dam has a reservoir big enough and capable to allow 10,000-ton freighters to sail for six months a year, which is a boon to the economy as well.

2. Job Opportunities
Supporters of Three Gorges Dam construction posit that aside from the energy supply that will come from the dam once it is finished, this project will be opening doors for employment for the citizens. According to reports, around 250,000 are needed to build the dam and this is on top of the other employees that will be needed for the operations and construction.

3. Flood Control
Now that the world is facing climate change, flooding in different parts of the world is already happening frequently unlike before. China is not excluded from this. However, if there is a dam to contain the rain water, flooding will be prevented. Additionally, with the Three Gorges Dam big enough to keep the river overflowing right away, people will have more time to evacuate to a safer place.

List of Cons of Three Gorges Dam

1. Displacement of People
Despite the objective of more power source the whole country will benefit from this project, critics posit that this has also affected many people’s lives in a negative way. In order to build the dam, 1,200,000 people needed to be relocated from the site. Consequently, families lost their homes, children needed to transfer schools and people lost their means of livelihood.

2. Corruption
People who oppose the construction of the dam claim that since the project has begun, criticisms on the alleged corruption committed by the officials surfaced. According to media reports, materials used are sub-standard while construction is poor. These actions resulted to accidents in the construction site and deaths. In 1999, 40 people died from the collapse of a steel bridge in Chongqing City.

3. Water Contamination and Pollution
Criticisms were also thrown at the harmful effects of the toxic materials to the environment. There were no major actions on the industrial wastes that have accumulated and thrown in the water which have remained stagnant since the construction have slowed down the flow of water.

The Three Gorges Dam project stirred controversy despite the benefits it will bring. The pros and cons counter each other and if the government do care for its people, serious considerations should be made to determine if these advantages are worth the sacrifices along the way.