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Learning English - Words in the News
WWF criticises Yangtze dams
Yangtze River Dam
Yangtze River Dam

A new report by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (the WWF) says China's Yangtze River is more at risk than any other river from indiscriminate dam building. The WWF also criticises China for other dams planned. Louisa Lim reports:

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In recent years, most of China's top leadership have been engineers and they've left their mark on the landscape by building a series of gargantuan dams; prestige projects to show man's mastery over nature and provide electricity to a power-hungry country.

Chief among these is the Three Gorges Dam, the biggest in the world, which spans the Yangtze River: and this report highlights the Yangtze as the river most at risk, with forty-six large dams planned or under construction there.

These could destroy the habitats of endangered species on the river, including the Yangtze River dolphin, of which only a few dozen remain. The report warns that communities downstream suffer when dammed rivers run dry and fish stocks are decimated.

China has eighty-eight dams under construction and at least thirty-six more planned. But even China's top hydro-electric engineer has expressed his doubts about some of his work, accusing one dam of causing disastrous floods and admitting that ordinary people had benefited little from the Three Gorges Dam.

Listen to the words

they’ve left their mark
they’ve made an important influence on

very large

prestige projects
large-scale plan, to make people admire someone (here, the leadership)

a power-hungry country
a country that uses a lot of electricity

stretches across

endangered species
animals that are at risk

in the direction the river is flowing


electrical power obtained from the energy of running water

had benefited little
had not had many improvements in their lives

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