News

Is Cambodia’s thirst for sand putting communities and the Mekong at risk?

Sophea Soung has been farming on Boeung Tompoun, one of the few remaining lakes in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, since 2009. Every day, her family rises with the sun to float through verdant waters on a slender boat and harvest vegetables, which they then transport ...

Marta Kasztelan, Thomas Cristofoletti

People live in fear as Mekong riverbanks collapse

One recent mid-morning, Lev Pheng Ang, a 52-year-old mother who runs a grocery store on the bank of the Mekong River in Rakar Korng Muoy commune, Kandal province’s Muk Kampoul district, was running her business as usual when she heard a loud splash in the ...

Moeun Chhean Nariddh

As the Mekong delta washes away, homes and highways are being lost

One night two years ago, Lam Thi Le and Nguyen Van Thuong heard loud cracks coming from their neighbours’ riverfront home. The neighbours left, and a day later half of their house collapsed into the broad Tien River as the land beneath it slid away. The ...

Michael Tatarski

Cambodia's dwindling fish stocks put spotlight on changing rivers

Cambodian fisherman Tin Yusos tucks into a meal of the previous day’s catch with his wife and granddaughter aboard a boat which doubles as their home moored by the banks of the Tonle Sap River. They plan to set out for another day of fishing in ...

Prak Chan Thul, Lach Chantha

Sand mining contracts cause serious concerns

Sand mining is conducted mainly at open pits, beaches, inland dunes or from the dredging of ocean and river beds. Sand is mined primarily to produce concrete for use in construction but this little-noticed and largely unregulated activity has serious costs  because it damages rivers and ...

Jason Boken

The covert industry that is destroying the world’s rivers

Good sand is surprisingly hard to find, and some of the best — the kind used to make glass, concrete and even iPhones — is usually found only in riverbeds and along coasts. Now researchers are discovering that a global boom in sand mining is ...

Roving bandits and looted coastlines: How the global appetite for sand is fuelling a crisis

Next to water, sand is our most consumed natural resource. The global demand for sand and gravel stands between 40 billion and 50 billion tonnes annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and its scarcity is an emerging global crisis. The world may run out of sand if we ...

Melissa Marschke, Jean-François Rousseau, Laura Schoenberger and Michael Hoffmann

The great salt drought desiccating Vietnam's Mekong Delta

“Well I can tell you, all my fish are dead now.” Nguyen Thi Bach Vien sounds more resigned than anything else. She is calling from her home in Ben Tre province, a few hours drive south of Ho Chi Minh City in the belly of Vietnam’s ...

Zoe Osborne

Dams, Sand, Rice: The Life and Possible Death of the Mekong Delta

What would Vietnam be without the Mekong Delta? Envisioning such a reality is difficult, but it is entirely possible that this will come to pass, albeit long after anyone reading this in 2020 is dead. The delta is Vietnam’s most vital agricultural region, producing 50% of the ...

Michael Tatarski

Houses On The River Will Fall': Cambodia's Sand Mining Threatens Vital Mekong

Some 60 million people rely on Southeast Asia’s Mekong River for their sustenance. But the Mekong is under threat. While China is building dams that sharply reduce the water flow and sediment downstream, other countries along the river share some of the blame. Cambodia, for instance, is experiencing a ...

Michael Sullivan

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