Inside The Three Gorges Dam A Man Made Disaster

the Three Gorges Dam a man-made disaster

when it officially became fully

functional on July 4th 2012 China hailed

the Three Gorges Dam the world's largest

power station with twenty-two thousand

five hundred megawatts of installed

capacity as a resounding success they

pointed to its modern highly efficient

turbines its ability to increase

shipping capacity along the Yangtze

River and the fact that it could help to

prevent downstream flooding by freeing

up flood storage space not only all of

this but it was a move towards limiting

greenhouse gas emissions sounds great

but there are two sides to every story

and the negative consequences of this

monumental project which cost the

country the equivalent of around 25

billion u.s. dollars have been described

by many as catastrophic both in its

human and environmental impacts over 1

million people were displaced in the dam

flooded historically significant

archaeological and cultural sites entire

ecosystems were permanently altered with

rare plant and animal life being pushed

to the brink of extinction experts

warned that the increased pressures such

a massive structure would create on the

surrounding land would trigger massive

landslides and an increased risk of

earthquakes in their teary predictions

seem to be coming true we'll break down

the story behind what has become without

a doubt one of the most controversial

pieces of infrastructure ever built by

humankind and you should all really be

looking forward to it because I made it

for you the audience but first as some

of you may know it's now time for us to

do something else for our watchers shout

out one of our favorite comments mark

farmer must surround himself with some

pretty terrible people because he seems

to prefer the company of extremely

poisonous golden lancehead snakes after

watching scary Islands that humans

refused to populate all jokes aside

thanks for watching mark and we

appreciate the comment now let's check

out this giant Dam starting with its

origins which involves one of the most

important and revered people in China's

post imperialism history soon yachts and

nationalism democracy and the livelihood

of the people these are the three

principles that soon yat-sen famously

followed he would use these beliefs to

move China away from imperialism a

system that send considered corrupt and

in stark contrast his beliefs in the

early 1900's one of his many ideas in

relation to the development of his

country was a huge dam that would

crossed the Yangtze thereby channeling

the power of the mighty river for the

of his country and its people Sen writes

about his vision in his book the

international development of China in

1919 he would pass away in 1925 but the

story of his proposed dam over the

Yangtze was just beginning slowed

progress both the US government and

Japanese military forces started plans

to build a dam on the Yangtze the latter

in the late 1930s in anticipation of a

victory over China in World War two and

the former in 1944 all work was halted

however as a result of the Chinese Civil

War in 1947 now would continue to

support a project on the Yangtze River

after the communist takeover of 1949 so

much so that he penned a poem about the

desire entitled swimming in 1956 but

economic instability would impede

progress for decades finally in the

early 1990s the National People's

Congress approved the Three Gorges Dam

and construction began in December of

1994 1.3 million people critics say the

number is closer to 2 million were asked

to move out of over 1,500 villages towns

and cities that were subsequently

flooded compensation plans for the

displaced were enacted but those efforts

were shackled by local corruption and

when funding did reach this destination

it was often an underwhelming amount

that fell woefully short of the value of

individuals homes and livelihoods

building a monster despite concerns from

scientists both in China and abroad

construction marched on throughout the

2000s experts saw that the giant project

would increase pressure on the

surrounding land and had the very likely

potential to cause landslides their

concerns were unfortunately confirmed in

2003 just one month after China filled

the dam to a 575 foot depth 700 million

cubic feet of rock slid into the

qinggang River just miles from where it

flows into the Yangtze the landslide

spawned a devastating 65 foot wave that

would claim 14 lives still development

of the dam continued in November of 2007

ground gave way near Three Gorges

Reservoir tributary thousands of cubic

yards of rock tumbled onto a highway

burying a bus and killing at least 30

people incidents like these and the

facts backing them could no longer be

ignored even by the government in 2012

China's Ministry of land resources

explained that there had been 70% more


and bank collapses then they had

estimated as a result of the dam by the

numbers when the actual dam was finally

complete people around the world

marveled at its dimensions

it stretches 1.4 miles across the

Yangtze while towering six hundred and

seven feet towards the skies making it

the largest dam in the world hoover dam

america's most well known dam is roughly

five times smaller to give you an idea

of its size twenty-one million cubic

yards of concrete were used to build the

structure another world record its

generating capacity of twenty two

thousand five hundred megawatts is

easily the world's highest as we

mentioned at the beginning it costs some

twenty five billion u.s. dollars to

build but that number is again disputed

by critics who feel it could have ended

up costing the country up to double that

amount pros the dam has plenty of

positive impacts it wasn't built just to

cause landslides and displace millions

at full power the three gorges is

capable of reducing coal consumption by

over 30 million tons a year thereby

avoiding some 100 million tons of gas

emissions and ten thousand tons of

carbon monoxide the presence of ship

locks and even ship elevators believe it

or not allows giant vessels to traverse

the Yangtze boosting the country's

economy as a result while the Chinese

government hoped that the dam would

provide power to ten percent of people

in China electricity demand in the

country became much higher than expected

and less than 2% of the population

received power through the dam today

another positive impact of the dam if he

had asked government officials would be

its ability to prevent a very real and

very serious threat to the millions

surrounding and directly affected by the

Yangtze floods the dams top priority it

seemed was in preventing the

catastrophic floods that occur along the

Yangtze land that is populated by

millions in August of 1931 following a

year of above average rainfall the

Yangtze flooded five hundred square

miles surrounding the river were

submerged entire rice crops were

destroyed without this essential food

thousands in major cities like Nanjing

starved following the catastrophe

all told over three and a half million

lives were claimed in the months

following the floods more recently in

1998 a series of floods that lasted from

June to September left 3,700 people dead

15 million homeless and caused nearly 25

billion dollars in economic losses now


tap the dams apparent ability to prevent

such catastrophes the general public and

especially those that live in areas near

the Yangtze aren't so sure

flooding last year was the worst since

1998 leaving hundreds dead critics

pointed to the dam and its failure to

prevent the disaster the 2016 floods

were bad and only time will tell if the

Three Gorges is capable of preventing an

event as devastating as 1998 you're

scarier still something more along the

lines of what transpired in 1931 this

dam is so freaking big some experts out

there think it's sheer mass and the

changes in water levels it creates could

actually cause earthquakes the past's of

major fault lines lie directly

underneath the three gorges experts

believed that the dam as a result could

cause a significant increase in seismic

activity as you know by now the dam was

built despite these and many other

concerns some of which we've gone over a

study done by the China earthquake

administration a government entity

showed that the experts were right they

registered three thousand four hundred

and twenty nine earthquakes around the

reservoir between mid 2003 and the end

of 2009 30 times the frequency recorded

during pre dam periods people fear a

large earthquake and its potential

consequences as it relates to the dam if

the dam itself were to be damaged during

a huge earthquake for instance the

results would surely be devastating for

the millions living in close proximity

thanks everyone for joining us on our

knowledge feed II look at the Three

Gorges Dam we hope that we've tipped the

Richter skills within you a bit and we

can't wait for you to join us on our

next video good night and good luck