The Yangtze River is the longest and busiest river in Asia and the third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. The Chinese call it Chang Liang ("Long River") and use the name Yangtze only to describe the section of the river near the mouth. Yangtze means "child of the ocean." The river empties into the East China Sea.
The Yangtze passes through over 185 towns where almost 400 million people live. Millions of gallons of sewage are dumped in the river along with Chemicals from factories.
The high levels of nitrogen and phosphates lead to the growth of blue green algae. This growth reduces the oxygen in the water causing fish to die.
The Three Gorges Dam is being built along the Yangtze River in China to provide hydro-electricity to millions of Chinese. Some people feel the project was begun without taking into account the effects such a project would have on the environment. Plant and animal species that live along the river where the dam has been built are now threatened with extinction.
Why is the Yangtze River so important to the population and economy of China? • A. Water from the river is used to irrigate the Gobi Desert • B. The Yangtze River is the international border between China and India • C. People use the river to get over the Himalaya’s • D. It supplies millions of people with water for drinking, irrigation, and industrial uses.
What are some of the main causes of high levels of nitrogen in the waters of the Yangtze River? • A. The waste is from nuclear power plants. • B. The bodies of dead animals are thrown into the river • C. Chemicals used in fertilizers run from the fields into the river • D. The exhaust fumes are from millions of cars driven in this area
What has been the effect of the rapid growth of algae in the Yangtze River? • A. Oxygen levels go down and fish die • B. River dolphins and porpoises can rely on the algae as a food source • C. The Yangtze River can longer be used for shipping and transportation • D. The algae has provided a good source of fertilizer for those who live along the river.
Why did the Chinese government go ahead and build the Three Gorges Dam along the Yangtze River? • A. The dam will provide water for all of China’s desert areas • B. China’s people needed a reliable source of hydroelectric power • C. China needed to be able to store water • D. Careful study showed that there would be no environmental problems associated with the dam