WWF: Mekong River in Imminent Danger

The government in Laos has just announced that it approves and supports the further process of constructing the dam to provide cheap power to the country. Sayabouly dam is the first of 11 planned dams on the Mekong, all of which must be approved by member countries of the Mekong River Comission (MRC).

“We already know that large dams, like these on the drawing board, will have enormous negative implications for life in the Mekong River. The river forms the world’s largest freshwater fisheries, and a large proportion of fish that live here will collapse when they, because of the dams, can not reach their spawning sites,”explains Lasse Juul-Olsen, head of WWF’s projects in the Mekong .

He continues: “It will also have incalculable consequences for the 60 million people who currently receive over 80 percent of their protein from the river.”

Mekong is home to more than 1300 species, some of them found nowhere else in the world. The large-scale construction projects are likely to be the crucial and final deathblow to some of the river’s endangered species such as the river dolphin and the rare giant catfish.

At a workshop organized by the MRC, it was concluded that with current technology dams, which make it possible for so many and different species of fish that migrate up and down river, can not build.

WWF therefore calls for a delaying of the dam construction on the main river until further studies have been conducted. The urgent need for electricity could meanwhile be solved by constructing dams on tributaries in order to spare the main river.

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