时间:2021-05-03 15:37:42


Thai Villagers Feel Effects of Mekong River Dams

The Mekong River is Southeast Asia's longest, passing through China, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

But dams have changed the path of the river system. Now there are droughts2 during the rainy season and high water when it should be dry. That has affected3 the lives of people, including those in northeastern Thailand where locals depend on the river for food and work.

Recently, Rodjana Thepwong searched for flecks5 of gold on the edge of the Mekong River in the northeastern part of Thailand. She said the waterway has been her playground, food supply and way to earn a living for all of her 64 years.

But it is changing at a speed she can hardly believe. When she was younger, the water was so low during dry season that she could walk to the Lao side a few hundred meters away. Now, she said, the water rises in the dry season so she stays on the Thai side and searches for very small amounts of gold.

Upstream dams have destroyed the natural processes of the river. About 60 million people depend on the river for food and survival6. Many of the dams were built by China.

The land along the river used to provide farmland to the poorest Mekong villagers. But now, when the dams are closed to produce electricity, water levels rise and fall without warning. And the land will not grow much of any food crop.

Campaigners say many kinds of fish have disappeared. They say the river downstream now lacks needed sediment7. This has sent a shock through the whole river system.

A new $2 billion hydroelectric dam, financed8 by China, is being planned for the town of Sanakham in Laos. It is just two kilometers from northern Thailand. Locals fear it will rob the river of nutrients9 and the sediment that provides nutrients for fish. They say it will be the end of the living river in northern Thailand.

The Mekong River Commission10 is in the process of examining the Sanakham dam proposal11 for possible effects on the environment and communities. But such steps are seen by locals as being unserious.

From a conservation area on the Thai side of the river, local researcher Apisit Soontrawirat records the destruction12. The conservation area is a few kilometers downstream from the proposed13 dam.

He said the Chinese and Lao dams have ruined the river system. Apisit said nearly 70 kinds of fish have disappeared because of the lack of sediment. But the dams also affect plant species14, which help provide food for fish.

Dam operators15 say they have put in place measures to reduce environmental damage, including building a passage for the fish. The structure permits fish to move upstream during mating season.

But Apisit said big companies in China, Laos and Thailand are taking everything and leaving the common people with nothing.

"Villagers are not getting any benefits from these dams," he said. "The only people that gain are the big businesspeople involved" in the hydropower.

From a small village home, a network of fishermen defends the river from the hydropower centers. But they stand little chance against the business interests that oppose them.

Chaiwat, one of the fishermen, said locals call the Mekong the River of Life. All they want, he said, is for it to be returned to them, so they can live off of it, even if it is not the same as before.

With fish populations greatly reduced, many fishermen have left the waterway for work in rubber fields or factories in the city.

Another proposed dam in Pak Chom could further hurt the people who still eat, live and work along its waters. It would be the first dam across the Thai stretch of the Mekong.

Fisherman Sudta Insamran has a simple plea16 to the dam builders:

It is time to stop building dams, he says, and return the Mekong River to the people.

"Please stop," Sudta says. "Enough is enough."

Words in This Story

drought1 -–n. a long period of time with little or no rain

fleck4 –n. a small spot or mark

upstream –adj. the direction that is opposite the flow of water in a stream or river; opposite of downstream

sediment -–n. the material that sinks to the bottom of a liquid

conservation –n. the protection of animals, plants and natural resources

benefit –n. a good or helpful result



1 drought nrxxj     
  • The plants are growing in again,despite the drought.尽管干旱,植物又长出来了。
  • The ground is as hard as stone after the drought.长期干旱后土地硬得就像石头一样。
2 droughts 5597630fd0d86ef28fc137b223502787     
n.干旱(时期)( drought的名词复数 )
  • Some of these droughts must have been severe. 有一些旱灾想必是严重的。 来自辞典例句
  • Farmers' problems continued, and their suffering was compounded by serious droughts in 1986 and 1988. 1986年和1988年的干旱使农民的处境更是雪上加霜。 来自英汉非文学 - 政府文件
3 affected TzUzg0     
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
4 fleck AlPyc     
n.斑点,微粒 vt.使有斑点,使成斑驳
  • The garlic moss has no the yellow fleck and other virus. 蒜苔无黄斑点及其它病毒。
  • His coat is blue with a grey fleck.他的上衣是蓝色的,上面带有灰色的斑点。
5 flecks c7d86ea41777cc9990756f19aa9c3f69     
n.斑点,小点( fleck的名词复数 );癍
  • His hair was dark, with flecks of grey. 他的黑发间有缕缕银丝。
  • I got a few flecks of paint on the window when I was painting the frames. 我在漆窗框时,在窗户上洒了几点油漆。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 survival lrJw9     
  • The doctor told my wife I had a fifty-fifty chance of survival.医生告诉我的妻子,说我活下去的可能性只有50%。
  • The old man was a survival of a past age.这位老人是上一代的遗老。
7 sediment IsByK     
  • The sediment settled and the water was clear.杂质沉淀后,水变清了。
  • Sediment begins to choke the channel's opening.沉积物开始淤塞河道口。
8 financed aa0981d7133083ff322279d1d91c445b     
为…供给资金,从事金融活动( finance的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Capital expenditure can be financed by borrowing; operating expenditure should not. 资本支出可以靠借款,而运营费用不行。
  • All purchases shall be financed with the proceeds of loan. 全部货款用贷款支付。
9 nutrients 6a1e1ed248a3ac49744c39cc962fb607     
n.(食品或化学品)营养物,营养品( nutrient的名词复数 )
  • a lack of essential nutrients 基本营养的缺乏
  • Nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. 营养素被吸收进血液。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 commission 1bkyS     
  • The salesman can get commission on everything he sells.这个售货员能得到所售每件货物的佣金。
  • The commission is made up of five people,including two women.委员会由五人组成,其中包括两名妇女。
11 proposal v0uzq     
  • I feel that we ought to accept his proposal.我觉得我们应该接受他的建议。
  • They could not gain over anyone to support their proposal.他们无法争取到支持他们建议的人。
12 destruction Rvjxs     
  • The enemy bombs caused widespread destruction.敌人的炸弹造成大面积的破坏。
  • Overconfidence was his destruction.自负是他垮台的原因。
13 proposed dkDzql     
  • There is widespread discontent among the staff at the proposed changes to pay and conditions. 员工对改变工资和工作环境的建议普遍不满。
  • an outcry over the proposed change 对拟议的改革所发出的强烈抗议
14 species FTizN     
  • Are we the only thinking species in the whole of creation?我们是万物中惟一有思想的物种吗?
  • This species of bird now exists only in Africa.这种鸟现在只存在于非洲。
15 operators 0997fb356c249146ffe97cce96f88459     
n.(某企业的)经营者( operator的名词复数 );(机器、设备等的)操作员;电话接线员;投机取巧者
  • A plethora of new operators will be allowed to enter the market. 大批新的运营商将获准进入该市场。 来自辞典例句
  • Green house operators have considerable opportunity for precise manipulation of nutrients. 温室管理员有很多机会来准确控制养分。 来自辞典例句
16 plea VO1xo     
  • The naughty boy left the classroom on the plea of a headache.那淘气的男孩借口头疼,离开了教室。
  • In making that plea he will breathe in vain.他做那种恳求是白费口舌的。

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