DAMS ON THE MEKONG
by Massimo Moriconi on November 09, 2018
"We are extremely concerned about large hydroelectric projects that do not take into account the culture and voices of the people of the Mekong Basin, whose living conditions and beliefs are deeply connected with the river."
This sentence was pronounced by the Mekong Agreement, an intergovernmental commission which includes Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, created to safeguard the sustainable use of the region's water resources.
The Mekong with its 4880 km, originates from the Tibetan plateau and after having crossed the borders of eight nations, flows into Vietnam and is in fact the most important river in Indochina.
More than for the richness of biodiversity, in recent decades there is talk of the Mekong for the wealth that will enter the state's coffers after yet another (well-fourth) dam that will be built there.
The budget allocated for the project is approximately 1.8 billion dollars and will include a thirty-year concession for the Chinese and Thai joint ventures that will carry out the construction.
Laos is therefore a candidate to become a gigantic reserve for the energy needs of all of Southeast Asia.
While there will be benefits for the 239 million people who live in the region from having cheap clean energy, it has already been calculated that the construction of the dams will lead to the loss of about 60-70%. of the catch in 10 years, due to the lack of water that will not allow migratory fish to go up the river.
The Irrawaddy dolphin, of which about 100 specimens remain, is condemned to certain extinction.
Most of the villages that live on the banks of the rivers will be relocated to other places, removing the inhabitants from their crops and their homes and consequently increasing the problem of poverty.
On July 24, the collapse of one of these dams under construction in the south-east of the country led to the flooding of six villages, causing an unknown number of deaths and about six thousand displaced.
It is essential to draw public attention and raise awareness among the world population of this announced disaster and the inevitable dramatic consequences that will ensue.