(January 14, 2008) “The project could lead to catastrophe.” Not the words of a dissident environmentalist, but the official Chinese news agency in a story about the Three Gorges Dam. Lindsey Hilsum in this report for Channel 4 News (UK) looks at the concerns expressed by Chinese government scientists over problems associated with the giant dam.
The Chinese government conflates the construction of China’s Three Gorges Dam with the importance of the pyramids and the Parthenon, hailing it as a miracle of human endeavour and a symbol of the greatness of modern Chinese civilization but even government scientists are concerned about the dam’s effects on geological stability and water quality, reports Lindsey Hilsum for Channel 4 News (UK). Digging beneath the propaganda, Hilsum finds scarred riverbanks in the dam reservoir region as a result of landslides and villages where homes have been split by cracks due to landslips officials variously describe as either a natural phenomenon or as a consequence of the dam’s construction. In the case of the latter, they say, “but everything was predicted and everything dealt with.” Not so, says Professor Lei Hengshun, who has followed the Three Gorges project since its inception: “Comparing what was foreseen before the dam construction to the issues we face today, I have to say we’re confronting many more problems than we predicted. Despite all the efforts no one can guarantee that landslides are completely controlled, nobody can predict when and where landslides take place nor promise there will be no more in the reservoir area.”
See the full Channel 4 report on YouTube here.