Environmental Degradation and Global Warming- Consequences of Himalayan Mega Dams: A Review
American Journal of Environmental Protection
Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2013, Pages: 1-9
Received: Jan. 3, 2013; Published: Feb. 20, 2013
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Authors
M. Tajuddin Sikder, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
K. Maudood Elahi, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
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Abstract
Mega dams have been considered as the greener energy source than most alternatives. But, responses of environment to dams are complex and varied, as it may result a wide range of environmental degradation. as they depend on local climate, dam structure and operation, and key attributes of the biota. We review our research and that of others to illustrate the fact of environmental impacts due to the existing and proposed mega dams of the Himalayas and also to investigate the sustainability of the dams. Being the youngest and fastest changing mountain, the Himalayas and it mighty glaciers, sources of important rivers, are highly susceptible to global warming. Recently, there are plans to transform the Himalayan Rivers into the powerhouse of South Asia by building hundred of mega dams to generate 150,000-megawatt electricity in the next 20 years. These dams pose severe environmental risks in the Himalayan region and mostly in the downstream and the climate change associated with the global warming threatens the safety and viability of these hydropower projects. Dams and their associated reservoirs impact freshwater biodiversity and hydrogeology; changing turbidity, sediment levels, nutrient levels; causing flash flood and prolonged submergence; severe drought in dry season; affecting local ecology and habitat; contribute greenhouse gases and the resulting global warming; dry up the rivers for even longer lengths; impact traditional livelihoods, agriculture, irrigation and fisheries; threat political, regional and geo-strategic stability; increase the rate of disaster associated with the dam failure, land sliding, earthquake in the downstream. The study investigates the fact that the next hydrological projects in the Himalayas need proper EIA and information sharing to decrease the environmental impacts, to ensure water distribution of rivers, the riparian countries, to make the projects sustainable and to ensure benefits for all with proper negotiations and commitment.
Keywords
Mega Dams, Climate Change, Global Warming, Environmental Degradation, Ecosystem, Biodiversity Loss
To cite this article
M. Tajuddin Sikder, K. Maudood Elahi, Environmental Degradation and Global Warming- Consequences of Himalayan Mega Dams: A Review, American Journal of Environmental Protection. Vol. 2, No. 1, 2013, pp. 1-9. doi: 10.11648/j.ajep.20130201.11
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