Hydro Dams and Pollution Depleting China's Lakes: Report

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Bio-diversity in China's lakes and rivers is suffering because of pollution and human development, according to recent reports. Experts have linked much of the damage to massive hydropower constructions along the Yangtze River, which is China's longest river. They say these dams take a toll on the local ecosystem.

On Monday, state-run Xinhua News Agency cited a report by the Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, which found that 243 lakes each covering about 0.4 square miles in China have disappeared in the past 50 years. Other researches have found that bio-diversity in lakes along the Yangtze River has decreased from 20 to 50 percent.

Marine biologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences professor Liu Xueqin says this drop is a result of human activity along the Yangtze River—like industrial pollution and hydro-dams.

[Professor Liu Xueqin, Marine Biologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences]:
"The middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze river used to be connected to the lakes along it. But because of the numerous dams built along the river during the 1950s to the 70s, many of the lakes were cut off. This means migratory fish had nowhere to go, and the lakes could no longer support them."

Hydrogeologist Professor Fan Xiao is also critical of major dam constructions, like the controversial Three Gorges Dam.

[Professor Fan Xiao, Hydrogeologist]:
"The dam has turned natural rivers into a ladder of interconnected reservoirs. The water flow, speed and temperature as well as sediment have all been changed dramatically. Although this can help the economy by producing electricity, the ecology in the lower reaches, and other users of the water resource will suffer."

The Chinese regime has invested heavily in hydropower as an alternative to coal-fueled energy.

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