Sacrificing the Mekong River Basin in theName of Electricity
By John Schertow
December 11, 2008
The Mekong river is considered the lifeblood of southeast Asia. It starts out on the Qingzang plateau in Tibet, a place known as 'roof of the world', and makes its way through Burma, Laos, Thailand,Cambodia and Vietnam before pouring itself into the China Sea.Along this path, carved out over millennia, the Mekong has ensuredthe health and security of countless people, providing them withfood, water for crops, and a means of trade and transportation.Today the Mekong supports as many as 100 million people.However, the onset of Hydro development, which began in the early1990s, threatens to drastically change that.In effect, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), an inter-governmental body of Mekong countries, wants to turn the Mekongriver basin into an international sacrifice zone, where abundanceand food security will be replaced with increasing poverty, foodshortages and the heavy loss of diversity.It's strange, but the MRC says this is all necessary and that they haveno choice but to exploit the natural resource power of theMekong river, because of the never-ending need for more electricityin Southeast Asia's urban centers. And so, they are attempting tobuild dozens, possibly hundreds of dams along the river and itstributaries.