Some people benefit from large infrastructure projects  but often displace and disadvantage others. Displaced people tend to be poor and relatively marginalised. Can the costs to the poor be...

Some people benefit from large infrastructure projects  but often displace and disadvantage others. Displaced people tend to be poor and relatively marginalised. Can the costs to the poor be compensated or avoided?

Asked on by maylita

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Some large infrastructure projects leads to displacement of a large number of people. Examples of this could be a hydroelectric project, a national highway or electricity project (thermal power or nuclear power) or a city's landfill. While these mega projects benefit a large number of people, they could also displace a large number of people. No example could be better than the Three Gorges Dam in China, the largest hydroelectric project in the world that also displaced 1.3 million people.

Most of the time, the displaced people are compensated for their land, by replacement land; however other assets such as home, cattle, etc. are compensated in money. It is not only the physical displacement, but rather the emotional displacement that affects these people the most. In some projects, the displaced people are also employed (in working for the companies or projects that led to the infrastructure in the first place). The impact of displacement can also be minimized by providing planned housing, including access to treated water, sanitation, schools, medical facilities, apart from employment. These efforts can help ensure that marginalized and displaced people are not relegated to refugee status and that they can still contribute to society. 

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