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Belo Monte Dam : Human and Environmental Consequences

By A.Zhu and J.Dalton
by

Andrew Zhu

on 11 October 2012

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Transcript of Belo Monte Dam : Human and Environmental Consequences

Belo Monte Dam: Human Environmental And Consequences 21 indigenous tribes have protested against the proposed Belo Monte Dam, which will significantly reduce their fish stocks which they depend on. The Kayapo tribes, have been at the forefront of this protest since the 1980's. The Kayapo tribe rely on the forest for houses, transport, food and medicine. By drying up many parts of the Xingu river and flooding 668 square kilometers, of that being 400 square kilometers of forest, it will destroy their way of traditional way of life On the 28th of June, 2012, an estimated 200 ingenious people, who would be affected by the Belo Monte Dam, occupied a construction site, partially stopping the work of the controversial Mega Dam on the Xingu River. As well as the Kayapo Indians, an additional 25,000 indigenous people will be affected. Belo Monte Dam is a proposed mega dam by the Brazilian Government as part of the Accelerated Growth Program, to stimulate economic growth. It would be the 3rd largest dam in the world. It is actually a series of dams, with a main largest one, called Belo Monte dam. However it has been highly controversial due to evidence that it would have disastrous environmental and human consequences..... In order to feed the powerhouse of the Belo Monte dam complex, up to 80% of the Xingu River will be diverted from its original course, causing a permanent drought on the river's "Big Bend," and directly affecting the Paquiçamba and Arara territories of the Juruna and Arara indigenous peoples. In addition, new migrants could fuel social tensions as they look for work, pushing into indigenous territories and protected areas to carve out a livelihood. The government claims that Belo Monte's cheap energy will power the houses of Brazilian families. In reality, only 70% of Belo Monte's energy will be sold for public consumption. Meanwhile, the remaining 30% has been purchased by state electric utility Eletrobras to resell to inefficient and energy-intensive industrial mining and other operations. FUNAI has stated that there may be some uncontacted Indians near the site of the dam. An increase of immigrants at the Dam Site will bring the indigenous species dangerous diseases which they have little resistance to. Belo Monte will also attract 100,000 migrants to the region. However, at the height of construction, only 40,000 jobs – only 2,000 of them long-term – will have been created The remaining labor pool will be driven to resort to illegal logging and cattle ranching, the two main causes of deforestation in the Amazon. In addition, new migrants could fuel social tensions as they look for work, pushing into indigenous territories and protected areas to carve out a livelihood. Meanwhile, the needs of those who do find jobs will add pressure to an already weak infrastructure and social services in the largest cities. The Belo Monte will be part of Brazil's environmental plan to bring down Carbon Dioxide Emissions by 38.9% by 2020, a plan pledged by the government in 2009 It is estimated that the energy generated by the dam, over the next 50 years, will be an equivalent of 1.14 billion barrels of oil. The Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), granted permission for the Belo Monte Dam to be built in February 2010, under the circumstances that the dam will also suffice for the following: Water quality
Impact on the fauna and flora (plant life)
Sanitation
Impact on the local population
Financial compensation
Recovery of degraded rundown areas
Monitoring social-environmental plans and programs (preventing violent breakouts and relieving social tensions The Planned 668 square kilometers of reservoir for Belo Monte Dam will flood 400 square kilometers of forest, about 0.01% of the Amazon Rainforest. Although this at first seems dispensable, the following statistics prove how much biodiversity there is in the Amazon. Although an estimated number of release of greenhouse gas is unknown, the future official estimation may not be trustworthy, due to the fact that greenhouse gas estimate for Tucurui Dam was 10 times less than it really was. The Xingu River, more specifically, will be hugely affected by the Building of the Dam, with 80% of the water diverted from its original course, causing much drought previous river course areas Perhaps more importantly though, is that the Xingu river contains over 600 species of fish, and have a 'high degree of endemism', meaning a high number of species that are exclusive to that area and found nowhere else. Fishes such as the Zebra Pleco (Hypancistrus zebra), the Sunshine Pleco (Scobinancistrus aureatus), the Slender Dwarf Pike Cichlid (Teleocichla centisquama), the plant-eating piranha Ossubtus xinguense and the Xingu Dart-Poison frog (Allobates crombiei) that are located in the Xingu River are the world's only known distribution of them. By drying up the Xingu river, there is risk of the extinction of hundreds of species of fish. Although Belo Monte Dam will help decrease Carbon Dioxide levels by 38.9%, the ugly truth is that Belo Monte dam will also emit 11.2 million metric tonnes of Carbon Dioxide in its first 10 years and 0.783 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent due to construction and connecting to the national grid.
As well as high Carbon Dioxide emissions, many dams in Brazil release a huge amount of Methane. This is because Carbon Dioxide is trapped in the flooded foilage, and then converted into Methane
It will take the dam 41 years to recover from this deficit, with every year working at optimal generation rate (11,381 megawatts). With an energy output of 11,381 Megawatts, whilst only covering 400sq km of land, it is argued that Belo Monte Dam has a high energy output when compared to its area, but to reach this amount, it also requires help from other supporting dams such as Bella Vista dam and Pimental Dam, each with their own reservoir area and emission release, worsening the situation. A single 10 hectare plot in the Amazon may contain over 700 types of tree
A single tree in the Amazon may contain over 40 different species of ants, more than the entire of Britain
There are 3,000 different species of mammals in the Amazon.
By even destroying 0.01% of the Amazon Rainforest, it will cause unprecedented destruction to life, proved by the fact that 140 species of plant, animal and insect is lost everyday. President of Brazil: Dilma Rousseff When fact and figures are shown like this, it's hard to understand why the Belo Monte Dam even exists...
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