Click here for Lao version/ຄລິກບ່ອນນີ້ເພື່ອອ່ານພາສາລາວ
Environmentalists say dam constructions on the Mekong River
will cause widespread impact on both animals and the lives of the people in the
lower Mekong region, especially in southern Laos
where dams will reduce the Irrawaddy dolphins'
population and push them closer to extinction.
Ms. Premreudee Daoreuang, coordinator of
the Mekong conservation group TERRA or Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional
Alliance, asserted that the construction of as many as 11 hydroelectric dams on
the segment of the Mekong River that runs through Laos, Thailand
and Cambodia will cause widespread impact on both animals and the lives
of the people inhabiting the lower Mekong region.
The dams will not only change the pace of the flow of the water's currents, but
also its quality after it passes through the electricity generating process. This
water will negatively affect the natural environment that is the habitat,
breeding grounds and source of food for the fish. And that will subsequently
and inevitably impact the food sources and supplies of some ten million people living in the lower Mekong region.
A case in point, said the coordinator for the
Thailand-based TERRA group which is a coalition of more than 20 Thai as well as
regional and international environmental organizations, is the dam project on
Don Sahong in the Siphandone (Four Thousand Islands) and Li Phi areas of Laos' southern
province of Champassack. She said this dam will obstruct the waterway that fish
and other water species in that area use all year round to travel back and
forth from Laos' Siphandone
area to the Tongle Sab Lake in
Meanwhile, a recent report by the privately-funded animal
conservation group World Wild Fund, or WWF, said the lower part of the Mekong River has become so polluted and contaminated that as many as 88 Irrawaddy
dolphins have died since 2003, because of toxic substances such as the DDT pesticide that is
used in agriculture, and PCB that the WWF Cambodia Office believe is generated from
mining in Laos, particularly the copper and gold mining in Savannkhet Province.
The WWF added that more than 60% of the dead dolphins were less than two weeks
old, so their population will be significantly reduced in the future, putting
them in immediate danger of extinction. WWF found that there are currently no
more than 76 of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins left, inhabiting a 190 km stretch
of the Mekong River
between southern Laos and
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on June 26,
2009. Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao, or read our Lao text. (English
translation by Buasawan Simmala and Dara Baccam.)