Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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Dams could ‘permanently damage Amazon’

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Dams could 'permanently damage Amazon'
The Amazon basin is the largest and most complex river system in the world

Scientists say, if a vast dam biluding programme goes onward, the Amazon basin could experience serious and irreversible damage.

At this moment, 428 hydroelectric dams are projected, in which 140 already  built or still under construction.

Scientists suggest that this could affect the motion of the complex river system and can bring thousands of different species in danger.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

“The world is going to lose the most diverse wetland on the planet,” said lead author Prof Edgargo Latrubesse, from the University of Texas at Austin, US.

Cascading problems

The Amazon basin is the largest and most complex river system on the planet and is  spread over more than  6.1 million sq km.

Amazon basic has become an important field for hydroelectric dam construction.

However this research recommends that the push for renewable energy along the Amazon’s waterways could point to serious problems.

The international crew of scientists who did the study is specifically worried about any disruption to the natural activity of sediment in the rivers.

This sediment supplies a essential source of nourishment for wildlife in the Amazon’s marsh. It also disturbs the course the waterways drift and flow.

“[The sediment is] how the rivers work, how they move, how they regenerate new land, and how they keep refreshing the ecosystems,” said Prof Latrubesse.

The scientist of Texas said that currently environmental evaluation were being done for each dam separately , noticing at their impact on local area. But he disputed an extensive approach was reqired for the Amazon.

“The problem is nobody is assessing the whole package: the cascade of effects the dams produce on the whole system.”

The team says a fuller assessment needs to be done before the dam-building progresses further
The team says a fuller assessment needs to be done before the dam-building progresses further

The researchers  have highlighted  all the tributaries of the Amazon River -Madeira, Maranon and Ucayali rivers – as scope of great concern.

These rivers are the habitat of so many different species and the researchers say they would be in danger if even a part of the planned dams go ahead.

Prof Latrubesse said: “All of these rivers hold huge diversity, with many species that are endemic.

“Thousands of species could be affected, maybe even go extinct.“

The researchers instruct that any loss could be irreversible, and they say any hazard  must be investigated before the dams are allowed to go ahead.

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