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Stop building Mekong River dams: experts

Update: December, 11/2014 - 09:18
Mekong River. — File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Townships along the Mekong River should suspend the construction of dams, which negatively impacts both the environment and residents near the river's lower basin, said experts at yesterday's seminar on the construction of the Don Sahong hydropower plant.

At the seminar, discussions focused on what residents of Mekong Delta regions thought about mainstream hydropower plants and what solutions might solve food, energy and living insecurity at the river's lower basin.

Experts said that the dams prevented fish from traveling between regions when the dry season arrived. Dams had also changed the natural occurrence of the wet and dry seasons by manipulating water levels.

The dams also prevented alluvium soil—rich in silts, clay and other minerals—from making its way down from the upper basin, causing damage to river ecosystems as well as reducing fish populations, said experts.

Trinh Le Nguyen, Director of People and Nature Reconciliation, said that Mekong River had changed considerably because countries all along the river built mainstream hydropower plants.

He reported that six dams were built at the upper basin in China and more were being planned along the river, including eleven plants to be built by Laos and Cambodia at the lower basin.

According to the Strategic Environmental Assessment of Mekong Mainstream Hydropower report from 2010, the construction of dams will change the river flow and reduce the quantity of alluvium created.

Consequently, fishery and agriculture sectors will suffer heavy losses. Residents along the river banks will find living and working difficult as food security will be threatened and the ecosystem that nourishes their trades will be destroyed. — VNS

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