Saturday, June 03, 2006

BAIJI DOLPHINS - Taming the wild waters

Here's Deep K. Datta-Ray in the Telegraph of Calcutta India with an article on the west's perception of the poor's ability to manage modern technology and projects such as the Three Gorges Dam.
The criticism of the Three Gorges project is unwarranted. The poor too are capable of managing modern technology.
China’s mighty Yangtze river has been tamed. The wall that now spans the river marks the beginning of the end of the Three Gorges project. It is the largest construction mankind has undertaken since the Great Wall of China. Like its Indian counterpart, the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada, this fantastic achievement has been dogged by controversy and criticism at home and abroad. Such criticisms derive from a narrow understanding of Asian society and culture. A deeper understanding of history can correct these misperceptions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Three Gorges Dam: A man-made disaster

China has the world's largest number of dams—86,000. With regard to the Three Gorges project it is accepted that it will displace nearly two million people, and submerge 19 counties, 153 towns and 4,500 villages. One is being asked to accept it as fait accompli since all this is happening for the greater common good of the poor like the two million people who will be uprooted.

Dozens of architectural and cultural sites will also disappear under the reservoir. Among the most notable are relics of the ancient Ba people, who lived in the region some 4,000 years ago.

The dam will reduce downstream nutrient and sediment flow and seriously impact neigboring river and seacoast ecosystems.

A study published in the April 2006 reported that sediment loading was found in places to be half of pre-dam levels. Such changes could harm plentiful coastal fishing grounds and subject tidal wetlands to increased erosion. It was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The dam has so far blocked an estimated ten million tons of plastic bags, bottles, animal corpses, trees, and other detritus that otherwise would have flowed out to sea. The reservoir flooded factories, mines, dumps, and other potentially toxic sites. Volumes of human waste and industrial refuse flow into the now dammed river from communities like Chongqing, and some serious water contamination issues will soon come to the surface.

Chinese's Yangtze River Water Resources Committee says, water qualities upstream of the dam have remained unchanged since natural water flow was stopped in 2003. Some commentators in India will surely accept this as gospel truth.

The wall is built to weather floods of a once-in-a-century severity. Concerns about earthquake activity in the area remain, and the unlikely event of a breach could have catastrophic consequences. Is Three Gorges Dam worth it? Did the Chinese Government look for better and safer alternatives? Autocracy of one party in China led to the construction of this outdated project which was concieved in 1919 by Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China. Had there been democracy sustainable alternatives could have been explored.

What is amusing is that commentators in India in their profound innocence believe Chinese Government as an equivalent of Chinese people nay Chinese poor.

Will these commentators explain for instance, why was Fu Xiancai, a Chinese activist who has spent years petitioning over resettlement terms for those displaced by the giant Dam was paralysed by unidentified assailants. Police barred the German journalist who interviewed Fu from entering the hospital to see him.
Gopal Krishna