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

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring