Beijing — Raised concerns of environmental harm as China began running the world’s second-largest hydroelectric station on Monday, which authorities welcomed as a landmark toward Beijing’s carbon neutrality ambitions.
The Baihetan Hydropower Station is in southwest China and is only second in the world began half operations on Monday morning, according to official media.
According to official broadcaster CCTV, Baihetan was developed with a cumulative capacity of 16,000 megawatts, which means it would ultimately be able to generate sufficient electricity every day to fulfil the energy demands of 500,000 people for a whole year.
Just on the earthquake-prone boundary of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, the dam crosses a steep, narrow gorge on the upper portion of the Yangtze, China’s longest river.
President Xi Jinping of China expressed that the facility will be able to meet the country’s needs in making greater contributions toward achieving the goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality. The development has been accelerated by Xi’s vow last year to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
However, environmentalists have long cautioned that dam construction disturbs the ecosystems of unique flora and fauna, such as the Yangtze Finless Porpoise, which is severely endangered.
The river’s silt composition has altered as a result of dam building, producing “large-scale hydrophysical and human health risk affecting the Yangtze River Basins downstream,” a scientist stated in an article of the Total Environment publication.
Many people have been displaced as a result of the enormous engineering projects, which have caused worry in neighbouring nations.
Dam on China’s Mekong has also prompted concerns that permanent damage is being done to a river that feeds 60 million people downstream as it flows down to the Vietnamese Delta.
Divyanshi Singh is an intern at The Independent SG /TISG.
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