Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Good news for the Mekong

Good news for the Mekong

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Men fish on the Mekong River in Cambodia. The Mekong is home to some of the planet’s most unique and rare species. Hong Menea

Good news for the Mekong

Dear Editor,

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was extremely pleased to hear recent comments from His Excellency Keo Rattanak, the director-general of Electricite du Cambodge (EDC), that he does not want to see the proposed Mekong River mainstream hydropower projects of Sambor and Stung Treng as part of the energy mix going forward.

The comments were made during an “Energy Vision” forum in Phnom Penh organised by the American Chamber of Commerce.

The comments were a welcome recognition of the immense value the free-flowing Mekong brings to Cambodia and the millions of people who rely on it for their livelihoods, fish catches and protein base.

The Mekong River is the defining geographic feature of Cambodia. Flowing south from the Lao border, it empties into a massive delta in Vietnam.

It hosts the world’s largest freshwater fishery and is home to some of the planet’s most unique and rare species, such as the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin and the Mekong giant catfish.

It is the longest river in Southeast Asia and second only to the Amazon in terms of fish biodiversity, home to over 1,100 freshwater species, with more discovered every year.

At present, the Lower Mekong south of the Lao border remains free-flowing. If the Cambodian section is blocked at any point by a large dam, there will be irreversible disturbance to hydrologic and ecosystem processes currently supporting the Lower Mekong and the Tonle Sap great lake.

Healthy free-flowing rivers deliver a number of critical ecosystem services.

They support freshwater fish stocks that improve food security for hundreds of millions of people, deliver sediment that supports agricultural productivity and keeps deltas above rising seas, mitigate the impact of extreme floods and droughts, and prevent loss of infrastructure and fields to erosion.

Instead of building mega dams like Sambor and Stung Treng, Cambodia should focus on sustainable renewable energy like solar power and wind to help meet its fast-growing energy needs.

Solar farms can be built quickly, closer to demand and at lower than ever costs. Large hydropower dams on the other hand are extremely costly, expensive to maintain and lead to destructive impacts on fisheries, biodiversity and communities.

A free-flowing Mekong River will enable millions of people depending on it to continue to sustain their livelihoods without any harm, and the biodiversity within the river can thrive for the benefit of many generations to come.

We applaud HE Keo Rattanak’s visionary comments and look forward to a solar-powered future for Cambodia.

Teak Seng,

WWF Cambodia country director

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Thai border crossings eased

    The Cambodian Embassy in Thailand said in an announcement on Wednesday that Thailand’s government has allowed certain passengers from several countries to enter its borders. The visitors must go back to their country immediately after their duties in Thailand are fulfilled, the embassy said.