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Environmentalists strongly oppose new hydropower plant

Update: April, 21/2016 - 09:00
Scientists and environmentalists believe that the construction of the Đrang Phôk Hydropower Plant at the would damage the ecological system of  the Yok Đôn National Park in the Central Highlands Đắk Lắk Province. — Photo cand.com.vn

ĐẮK LẮK — Scientists and environmentalists across the country have raised their voice to strongly oppose the construction of the Đrang Phôk Hydropower Plant at the end of this year in the Central Highlands Đắk Lắk Province’s Krông Na Commune.

As currently planned, the Đrang Phôk Hydropower Plant will cover more than 308 hectares; including nearly 24 hectares of dipterocarp forest belonging to the core area of the Yok Đôn National Park. The plant would have an estimated capacity of 26MW.

The construction is scheduled to be implemented by the New Technology Application and Construction Investment Corporation (TECCO). It will be the eighth hydropower plant built along the Sêrêpốk River. The provincial People’s Committee gave the green light to the plan in 2007.

Professor Đặng Huy Huỳnh from the Việt Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, said encroaching on land inside the national park’s core area would harm wildlife, especially the big animals as the dipterocarp forest was believed to be where the larger animals found food.

Đào Trọng Tứ, former vice general secretary of the Việt Nam National Mekong Committee, said the price we had to pay was very high if the hydropower plant was built.

In principle, they must not build anything in the core area of a national park. The core area is a place seriously in need of preservation in every national park, Tứ said.

Vũ Trọng Hồng, formerly of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said it was unacceptable to build a hydropower plant in the core area of the national park.

Hồng said the current drought hitting the central highlands region was partly due to the region having built too many hydropower plants that store water from local rivers.

He warned that the province would attract catastrophic consequences if it continued building hydropower plants.

Trần Việt Hùng, deputy head of the Central Highlands Steering Committee, said the province had to carefully consider destroying forest to build the hydropower plant, especially damaging forest located in the core area of a national park.

“Because we can’t imagine its consequences,” he said.

Trần Tuấn Linh, deputy head of the Yok Đôn National Park, said the national park’s ecological system would be damaged by the building of the hydropower plant.

The Yok Đôn National Park, the largest of Việt Nam’s nature reserves, has been gradually expanded and today encompasses 115,000 hectares with numerous species named in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. The national park contains the highest percentage of protected species in the country.

It is estimated that dipterocarp forest accounts for about 93 per cent of the national park’s area. The dipterocarp forest is typical for Southeast Asia’s tropical forest. — VNS

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