Click here for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
coalition of international environmental organizations launched a campaign to
raise awareness of the need to protect the environment and oppose the
construction of hydropower dams on the
coalition, called Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance or TERRA,
was formed in March 2009 and consists of Thai and international organizations that
aim to protect the Mekong River’s natural resources, said TERRA coordinator Premreudee
alliance’s current campaign of disseminating information and news relating to
the Mekong River is aimed at raising public awareness, within Thailand and
abroad, about the risks associated with the building of hydropower dams on the
river. They also hope to influence
policy makers to adopt more sustainable ways to meet energy and water needs in
coalition hopes to gain support from the public by collecting as many signatures
as possible between March and April, locally and internationally, from people
concerned about the river’s future.
signatures are being gathered on postcards which will then be submitted to the
governments of the six riparian countries, namely China, Myanmar, Laos,
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, to call on these governments to stop the 19
dam projects planned or currently being built on the Mekong and let the river
follow its natural course, as well as look for other alternatives.
the 19 dam projects, eight are to be in China, which has already built three
and plans to build the remaining five within the next ten years. Nine dams are being
planned for Laos, with seven to be built inside the country and two on the
section of the Mekong that borders Laos and Thailand. The remaining two are
planned for Cambodia and are in the feasibility study phase.
the electricity from the nine dams to be built in Laos and on the border with
neighboring Thailand will be sold mainly to Thailand, the coalition also plans
to encourage Thai people to oppose their government’s plan to purchase
electricity from Laos.
Suthep Kritsanavarin, a leading Thai
photographer, spent three years traveling to Laos to document the life of
fishermen in the Siphandone or Four Thousand
Islands area in Champassack province in southern
He expressed his concerns over the
potential damage to the area’s beautiful sceneries and the richness of animal
species living in the river, including the Irrawaddy dolphins.
Mr. Kritsanavarin warned that the fresh water
dolphins will definitely become endangered if the Lao government allows investors
to build dams along the Mekong River.
“I think that the construction of dams
should be stopped because it does not only impact electricity but also on the
fish and, most importantly, on the six million people living in Laos, a
landlocked country, who rely on the fish from this river,” said Mr. Kritsanavarin
. “It is very important to weigh the energy needs and the risk that could be
brought about by building these dams.”
The seven dam projects inside Laos and
the two to be built on the Mekong bordering Laos and Thailand, are to be constructed
in Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, Paklay, Sayabouly, Sanakham, Pakxom, Ban Koum,
Ladsub, and Done Sahong.
Pongern reported from Bangkok on 03/21/09. (English translation by Buasawan
Simmala and Dara Baccam)
Listen to our audio files for more details in Lao.