By building dams on the Mekong, China is drying up its neighbors

Posted on September 07, 2020 at 4:47 a.m.- Updated on September 07, 2020 at 3:24 p.m.

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The proliferation of hydroelectric structures is disrupting the course of the river, the largest reservoir of freshwater fish in the world, which supports millions of residents.

Seen from the Thai side, facing the jungle-covered hills of the Laotian shore, the great border river seems to flow unchanged, liquid incarnation of the eternal course of things: melancholy and beauty of the Mekong whose flow, apparently so slow, gives the impression that it carries with its customary majesty its café au lait waters.

Illusion and serious error in judgment: the Mekong is not what it used to be, the river is in peril, and with it its fish, its vegetation and the lives of the fishermen for whom it is, in living memory, the feeder river par excellence A single number gives the idea of the abundance of the river's resources and illustrates the importance it has for the populations living along its banks: 2 million tonnes of fish are caught there each year .A world record that no other basin matches on the rest of the planet.

“Look at the middle of the river,” says Chaiwat Parakun, a long-distance fisherman from Ban Muang village (Nong Khai province, northern Thailand), pointing to grassy islets that protrude from the brown surface.Having entered the rainy season, they should all have been submerged by that time.But no: the Mae Nam Kong [Mekong in Thai] is at least three meters lower than its usual height.We are then at the beginning of August and it will be necessary to wait weeks for, at the beginning of September, the level of the river finally reaches almost usual heights.

Posted Date: 2020-09-19

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