China: Floating Trash Threatens to Clog Three Gorges Dam
A 12-acre flotilla of garbage has formed in front of the Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River. And with ever more trash piling up, engineers are worried it will clog the gates of the dam.
Torrential rain has caused massive flooding in the region, increasing the flow of trash down river.
Some areas are covered with a layer of trash so thick it’s possible to walk on the river.
Nearly three tons of waste is being removed from the dam every day, but that may not be enough to keep up with the flow of garbage. The China Three Gorges Dam Corporation already spends reportedly $1.5 million U.S. dollars a year on removing trash from the river.
The roughly 150 million people who live in the cities and towns up river from the dam dump their waste directly into the river because of inadequate municipal trash facilities.
The Three Gorges Dam is highly prized by the Chinese Communist Party for its capacity to generate large amounts of electricity. But critics of the dam say it has caused severe ecological damage to the area, has increased the likelihood of landslides, and has displaced millions of people.