Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NGOs threaten to sue over Don Sahong dam

NGOs threaten to sue over Don Sahong dam

NGOs threaten to sue over Don Sahong dam

Environmentalists and NGOs are threatening to sue developers of a controversial hydropower dam, claiming the project would cause irreversible damage to the Mekong River.

The Don Sahong dam, a 260-megawatt project proposed on a site less than two kilometres north of the Cambodian-Lao border, is expected to begin construction this month.

Members of Save the Mekong Coalition gathered yesterday at a conference urging a moratorium on the dam until further studies could be conducted.

“There’s a huge population that relies on this river. If they really build it without conducting proper impact studies it will be irresponsible to the 60 million people who live along the river,” said Pen Somany, executive director of the Cambodian Volunteers for Society.

Last month, the Mekong River Commission made public an environmental impact assessment report prepared by a private company for Malaysian developer Mega First Corporation Berhad.

Contrary to the outcry from environmental groups, the report says there will be no significant negative impacts.

“What they say in their report is just what the dam builders want to hear,” said Meach Mean, a coordinator at the 3S Rivers Protection Network.

The coalition is instead calling on the governments that will be affected by the project – Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos – to each conduct independent assessments and then weigh the benefits against the repercussions.

“We want a very detailed study focused on how the dam will impact the life cycles of the fish and how it will change the natural complexity of the river system,” said Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia.

On Friday, the coalition sent a letter to the governments of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand seeking intervention and cancellation of the project.

They haven’t received a reply, and say they are considering legal action as a next step.

“We are advocating for this, so that we can know the effects before it ends up impacting people’s food security and economic livelihood for generations,” said Youk Senglong, program manager of Fisheries Action Coalition Team.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The