TECHNO FIX: Externalities (Case studies)

  • The three gorges dams
  • GM crops
  • Nuclear
  • Wind
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  • Created by: Max123
  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:52
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The Three Gorges dam project in China blocks the Yangtze River it cost £17
billion to build and was completed and fully functional on the 4th of July 2012.
The dam drains an area of 1.8 million km2 and will supply Shanghai (population
of 13 million) and Chongqing (population of 3 million) with sufficient supplies
of water. It is also the world's largest HEP scheme (generating 18,000 mega
watts) and it also protects 10 million people and 25,000 hectares of farmland
from flooding.
Up to 1.2 million people, 1,600 enterprises, 140 towns and 4,500 villages
have had to be relocated many of these people still haven't received
compensation ­ over $30 million of funds set aside for this has been
taken by corrupt local officials.
The environmental impacts have been devastating the dam has trapped
huge amounts of human and industrial waste (Chongqing pumps in over
1 billion tonnes of untreated waste each year) which has impacted the
biodiversity in the area.
The dam has interfered with aquatic life e.g. the Siberian Crane and the
white flag dolphin which are threatened with extinction.
Fish stocks have also declined as the number of phytoplankton they feed
on has fallen.
Archaeological treasures have also been drowned e.g. the famous Zhang
Fei Temple.
The port at the head of the lake may become silted up as a result of
increased deposition which could cause the development of a delta at
the head of the lake ­ this could affect the longevity of the scheme.
The Chinese government are prioritising short term economic gain but underestimate
the long term negative environmental/ecological externalities.
GM crops have brought many positive socioeconomic impacts to developing
countries it has increased yields dramatically therefore increasing food
security and it has also improved peoples health and diet.
However it has also created negative socioeconomic and environmental
externalities e.g. the introduction of machinery has lead to unemployment and
increases ruralurban migration. Only relatively well off farmers can afford the
technology. Environmental impacts include nutrient rich run off and
eutrophication caused by fertilisers. Pesticide overspray also damages
High levels of radioactive waste ­ costs £18 billion to build underground
storage systems. The Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) incidents raise
concern over nuclear disasters ­ the stations are seen as `soft' targets to
terrorists. High costs of building and decommissioning reactors.
There are several issues with this source of energy to be considered it uses up
a lot of land which inevitably leads to NIMBYISM issues ­ there is local

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opposition and concerns about the noise pollution and the impact on the
landscape.…read more


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