Dam Building Threatens China’s ‘Grand Canyon’

Dam projects are often controversial, for they require the displacement of peoples, destruction of the riparian zone, and other environmental consequences. In China, most attention has focused on the large Three Gorges Dam, set to be completed in 2009 at an expense of $25 billion and the displacement of one million people. There is, however, another project worth paying attention to, though it has been largely ignored by international media. The Nu River project, which would create 13 dams and upset the homes of 50,000 village people, is becoming the focus of an indigenous environmental movement. Local groups are angry at the proposed destruction of China's "Grand Canyon", which hosts "a fourth of China's indigenous plant species and half of its native animal species". Likewise, villagers are dismayed at the idea of leaving their ancestral land for, in the words of one Chinese official, "the modern world." Chinese officials argue that hydropower is a cleaner source of energy than coal and that environmentalists should embrace China's decision to comply with international pressure to switch to a cleaner energy source. When this energy source comes at the cost of biodiversity, however, many environmentalists remain unconvinced that it is the best option. – YaleGlobal

Dam Building Threatens China's 'Grand Canyon'

Jim Yardley
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

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