Day 48: Three Gorges Dam

 

Today we visited the Three Gorges Dam – the world’s largest in terms of installed capacity. The dam was commissioned in 2003, with the functioning body of the dam completed in 2012, and the ship lift completed in 2015. The dam was considered an historic social and infrastructural project within China, steering toward greenhouse gas reduction and more flood protection. But it has also drawn criticism for the massive displacement of people – around 1.3 million – and ecological impact on such things as increased landslides. A significant impact of the dam was the increase in river barge traffic. Along with the hydroelectric capabilities of the dam, increased barge shipping is meant to offer a reduction to the carbon emissions brought on by relentless truck transportation. For many the dam signifies a complex interweaving of China’s powerhouse development projects, ecological mindfulness and delicacy (or lack thereof) when designing solutions for people standing in the shadow of their monumental endeavours.

 

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