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    » 09/06/2014, 00.00

    CHINA - MYANMAR - THAILAND

    Chinese dams on Thanlwin River threaten livelihood of Burmese villages



    The alarm raised by Chinese, Burmese and Thai scholars at seminar in Mon state. The dams already present in the upper part of the river, in Chinese territory, have altered the course of the river and caused an increase in salt water. Fishing at risk as well as the survival of entire villages.

    Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A group of Chinese, Burmese and Thai scholars currently holding a seminar in Mon State, southern Myanmar, have raised the alarm about plans - under development - to build six dams on the Thanlwin River. Over 200 researchers and academics are attending a seminar at Moulmein University, to share the latest discoveries in the social and environmental impact of mega structures. In particular, attention has focused on the consequences for the inhabitants of the communities living along the river, the longest in Indochina after the Mekong. They also traveled to nearby villages to ask how local residents have been affected by dams already built upstream in China.

    The workshop was organized by the Renewable Energy Association Myanmar (Ream), the Mekong Energy and Ecology Network (Mee Net) and Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance (Terra). The academics said the livelihoods of farmers were being threatened not only by the dams, but also by the chemical industries and hydropower industries developed alongside them.

    Meanwhile, the construction of dams in the upper part of the Thanlwin River, in China, has already resulted in a change in the current, which has led to an increase of the salt water in the main river and its tributaries. The increased salinity of the water has caused soil erosion and, over the years, resulted in the disappearance of entire villages and islands in the delta of the Gulf of Martaban, at the mouth of the river (which rises in the highlands of Tibet) in the South Myanmar, together with large tracts of agricultural land.

    Min Min Nwe, a coordinator for a Mon development group who helped organize the workshop, notes that waste from chemical industries has seeped into the river, harming fish and prawns while affecting the growth rate of insects and sails, which are damaging crops. He says "at farms along the Thanlwin River, large snails are destroying the rice paddies".

    Of the six dams planned for the river, two would be in Shan State (construction has already begun on one of these), while one would be in Kayah State and three would be in Karen State. Experts say once the Thanlwin river is dammed upstream, the people living downstream, will see a rise in tide and deforestation, while animals like fish and birds will perish. The researchers would like to "avoid" such a scenario and have delivered a comprehensive report to Parliament on the effects of dams.

     

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    See also

    15/10/2014 THAILAND
    Bangkok, activists and citizens file suit to stop Xayaburi dam
    The inhabitants of the eight provinces file injunction suit with Administrative judge. They aim to stop construction of the controversial mega-plant, to be built in Laotian territory. For the Court, the people "have the right" to defend the environment and their livelihoods, which must be "balanced" with economic development.

    30/06/2006 MYANMAR - THAILAND - CHINA
    Myanmar: Karen oppose dam that will benefit government and hit people hard

    The Hat Gyi dam in Karen state will be constructed as a joint venture between Thailand, Myanmar and China; the three countries are keeping project details secret. Thousands of Karen villagers have already been displaced with the help of the Burmese army.



    06/04/2010 THAILAND – CHINA – VIETNAM
    Mekong nations meet after 15 years
    The second summit of the Mekong River Commission, which includes Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, ended yesterday with a joint statement on a common action plan to develop the river. Delegates from Myanmar and China attend the meeting as ‘dialogue partners’. Beijing rejects accusations that its hydropower development is harming the river basin.

    20/05/2006 CHINA
    Three Gorges Dam inaugurated

    After 13 years of work, the "most imposing public work in the country after the Great Wall" has been completed. To build it, the government displaced around two million people, destroyed valuable architectural works and risks flooding with refuse those cities touching the river .



    06/09/2006 CHINA
    More than 312 million farmers have no drinking water

    The water contains fluorine, arsenic, and other chemical substances, according to the Minister of Water Resources. Sugai, a small village flooded by the chemical waste of two mills, is a case in point.





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