The livelihood of millions of people in China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will be affected as drought and newly-built dams impede the Mekong River’s flow, drying up segments of the once fast-flowing river.
Observers predict that these two factors may lead to the death of the 4,700km waterway.
At a discussion on the Mekong River at Chulalongkorn University recently, Pou Sothirak, director of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace and a former energy minister, was quoted by Asia Times as saying: “Regional policymakers, energy ministers, they are totally consumed by infrastructure development. They just want more energy — they are consumed by the idea that dam-building will improve their national economy.”
The building of new coal-fired power plants and hydropower dams have sparked concern about environmental disasters, with regional governments keen on maintaining economic growth and development appearing determined to push on regardless of the negative impacts.
Azman Hamid, Patrick Sennyah, Roy Goh