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
Views 4442      Downloads 395
M. Tajuddin Sikder, Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
K. Maudood Elahi, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Article Tools
Follow on us
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.
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
R. B. Barthem, M. C. Ribeiro, M. Petrere, "Life strategies of some long-distance migratory catfish in relation to hydroelectric dams in the Amazon Basin," Biological Conservation, vol. 55, pp. 339-345, 1991.
R. S. Devine, "The trouble with dams," Atlantic Monthly, vol. 276, pp. 64-74, 1995.
S. A. Abbasi, "Wetlands of India: ecology and threats" Discovery Publ. House, New Delhi, India, Vol. 1. p. 9, 1987.
D. R. Blu¨hdorn, A. H. Arthington,"The utility of stream salinity models in the integrated management of Australian rivers," in David M. Harper and Alastair J. D. Ferguson, John Wiley & Sons Eds. New york: The ecological basis for river management, 1995, pp. 115–124.
GOB (Government of Bangladesh), "White paper on the Ganges water dispute," GOB, Dhaka, 1976.
M. M. Q. Mirza, "Diversion of the Ganges Water at Farakka and Its Effects on Salinity in Bangladesh," 2005.
C. Revenga, S. Murray, J. Abramovitz, A. Hammond, "Watersheds of the world: Ecological value and vulnerability," Worldwatch Institute, Washington, DC, 1998.
GOB (Government of Bangladesh),"Ganges water: Crisis in Bangladesh," GOB, Dhaka, 1997.
M. B. A. Saad, "Conflicts between users. Sustainable fish production in Lake Nasser: ecological basis and management policy," In: J.F. Craig (Editor), ICLARM Conference Proceedings, vol. 61, pp. 7-9, 2000.
R. A. Bodaly, R. E. Hecky, R. J. P. Fudge, "Increases in fish mercury levels in lakes flooded by the Churchill River diversion northern Manitoba, Canada," Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Vol. 41, pp. 682-691, 1984.
JRC (Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission), "Monthly maximum salinity data for various stations," Dhaka, 1995.
T. Dorcey, A. Steiner, M. Acreman, B. Orlando, "Large dams. Learning from the past, looking at the future. Workshop Proceedings, IUCN, Gland Switzerland and Cambridge, UK and the World Bank Group, Washington, DC, pp. 145, 1997.
M. P. McCartney, C. Sullivan, M. Acreman, "Ecosystem impacts of large dams. Report for the IUCN-The World Conservation Union and the World Commission on Dams," pp. 74, 1999.
I. Goldsmith, N. Hildyard, "The social and environmental effects of large dams. Volume One, Overview," The European Ecological Action Group, UK, p. 346, 1984.
P. McCully, "Silenced rivers. The ecology and politics of large dams," Zed Books, London & New Jersey, pp. 350, 1996.
R. Costanza, R. Arge, R. Groot, S. Farber, M. Grasso, B. Hannon, K. Limburgh, S. Naeem, R. V. O’Neil, J. Paruleo, R. G. Raskin, P. Sutton, M. van den Belt, "The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital," Nature, vol. 15, 1997
L. N. Chao, L. Sonnenschein, S. Dowd, "Project PIABA. Developing toward a sustainable natural resource in Amazon freshwater fisheries," Bio-Amazonia Conservation International, Brookline, Maine and Universidade do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil, pp. 34, 1999.
M. Kottelat, T. Whitten, "Freshwater biodiversity in Asia with special reference to fish," World Bank Technical Paper, vol. 343, pp 59-75, 1996.
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), "Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007," IPCC statement on the melting of Himalayan glaciers, Geneva, 2010.
A. H. Khan,"Farakka Barrage: Its impact on Bangladesh— an overview," Dhaka, 1993, pp. 13.
M. T. Sikder, M. Yasuda, Yustiawati, S. Syawal, T. Saito, S. Tanaka, M. Kurasaki, "Comparative Assessment of Water Quality in the Major Rivers of Dhaka and West Java," Int. J. Environ. Protec. Vol. 2, pp. 8-13, 2012.
S. M. A. Hussainy, "Major environmental problems of Bangladesh: An overview," Dhaka, 1987, pp.33.
SRDI (Soil Resource Development Institute)," Soil Salinity in Bangladesh 2000," Government of the People Republic of Bangladesh, 2003.
M. T. Sikder, Y. Kihara, M. Yasuda, Yustiawati, Y. Mihara, S. Tanaka, D. Odgerel, B. Mijiddorj, S. M. Syawal, T. Hosokawa, T. Saito, M. Kurasaki, "River Water Pollution in Developed and Developing Countries: Judge and Assessment of Physicochemical Characteristics and Selected Dissolved Metal Concentration," Clean-Soil Air Water. Vol. 41, pp. 60-68, 2013.
R. T. Watson, M. C. Zinyowera, R. H. Moss, "Climate change 1995. Impacts, adaptations and mitigation of climate change: Scientific-technical analyses," Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 878, 1996.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186