Wolfgang

Wolfgang

Posted on 10/06/2008


Photo taken on January  1, 2000



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Mekong with low water level caused by reckless Chinese dam projects

Mekong with low water level caused by reckless Chinese dam projects
China is engaged in an extensive program of dam-building on the river itself: it has already completed one at Manwan, a second is under construction at Dachaoshan, and another twelve are under consideration.
The Mekong River Commission, a panel of the region's nations, has accused China of blatant disregard for the nations downstream in its plans to dam the river in an effort to stop the dams, but to no avail. Since the building of the first Chinese dam, many species have become endangered including the Mekong dolphin and manatee, water levels have dropped as ferries get stuck, fish caught are small and the catch is less than half of before the dam, the turnover at Chiang Rai port is less than 1/4 of previous years, and crossings from Chiang Rai to isolated Luang Prabang have lengthened from 8 hours to 2 days due to inadequate water levels.
Despite all these problems, new dams planned will have significantly worse impact if carried out as planned. All nations downstream and the environment will suffer from added pollution (due to development and relatively lax regulation and enforcement in China compared to Thailand, poisoning the food supply from pesticide runoff and heavy industry, as well as promoting algal blooms from organophosphates from agriculture, as well as water hyacinth infestation), river blockage problems as fish cannot swim upstream to spawn, and potentially devastating very low water flow.

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