News / Asia

Wildlife Group Rebuts Environmental Assessment for Mekong Dam Project

FILE - Fishing in the Mekong River below Khone Falls close to the Laos-Cambodian border. (Fletcher&Baylis/WWF- Greater Mekong)
FILE - Fishing in the Mekong River below Khone Falls close to the Laos-Cambodian border. (Fletcher&Baylis/WWF- Greater Mekong)
Plans to build a hydroelectric dam on the Mekong River, just inside Laos and upstream from Cambodia, are raising questions about its impact on the environment.  
The World Wide Fund for Nature's report is calling the environmental impact assessment for the proposed Don Sahong dam a “recipe for disaster.”

The international non-governmental organization is refuting the developer’s assertion that the project will have no significant environmental impact.

The dam, which would provide most of its 260 megawatts of generated electricity to Thailand and Cambodia, is to be built on the Mekong River in Laos by a Malaysian company.

WWF contends that the developer’s assessments of the project’s impact are not supported by scientific evidence and lack research on how societies and economies across borders would be affected.

The blueprint for the project includes a passage system through the dam for the lower Mekong’s migratory fish species, which are a significant and affordable source of protein for communities along the river.  

The WWF’s Marc Goichot, a specialist on the project, says in a VOA interview that the proposed passage system is unproven and risky.

“If you block this process then the species will disappear. And the place where the project is planned is a very specific channel in this multi-channel section of the river that is the only one that is easy to pass for fish," said Goichot.

Goichot says WWF is not looking to prevent the dam from being built. Rather, it is concerned about the particular location chosen.

“We believe there are many places that are far less risky. So if you would develop those hydropower projects at the right sites then it would be much easier to mitigate the impact. And for the same hydropower production you would have far less risk on your natural resources and among your environment," he said.

In January, Mekong region countries called for ministerial-level discussions on the fate of the dam, which is one of eleven planned for the lower part of the 4300- kilometer-long river.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid