Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dam’s impacts being felt

Dam’s impacts being felt

Villagers impacted by Stung Treng’s Don Sahong dam fear lodging complaints about its construction. Photo supplied.
Villagers impacted by Stung Treng’s Don Sahong dam fear lodging complaints about its construction. Photo supplied.

Dam’s impacts being felt

Residents of Stung Treng province’s Preah Romkil commune are reluctant to express their concerns over Laos’s Don Sahong hydropower dam since it was endorsed last month by Prime Minister Hun Sen, despite the impacts of the dam already being keenly felt, activists and researchers said yesterday.

Hun Sen last month announced his support of the controversial project, expressing hope that Lao would sell electricity to Cambodia at a low price, but activist Chum Hout said yesterday that since the endorsement, community members are fearful of lodging complaints. “We appeal to Samdech [Hun Sen] to stop supporting this project . . . Fishing has seriously fallen,” Hout said.

A group of environmentalists believe that the construction, just 1 kilometre away from the commune, is affecting water quality in the area, and damaging the fishing and tourism industries.

Activist Chhum Kanika, 23, inspected the dam on Tuesday and maintained that stone blasting has hurt the fishing industry and encouraged Irrawaddy dolphins to migrate elsewhere. “Before, there were about seven dolphins . . . and right now we do not see any at all,” Kanika said. “Tourists come to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. If there are no dolphins, there will be no tourists.”

Hem Odom, a Cambodian independent researcher and hydro dam consultant, agreed that construction had impacted the dolphins, saying it interfered with their echolocation.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said the activists should appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the dam is not in Cambodia.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the