Investigative reporter, TOM FAWTHROP has just returned from the site of the Don Sahong – a hydrodam being constructed in the middle of an eco-paradise of wetlands in Southern Laos where over 200 fish species have been recorded
The Four Thousands Islands (Sipangdon) in southern Laos, has long beguiled explorers tourists and locals with its vast number of islets, spectacular waterfalls and 26 major islands. Over a stretch of 50 kms the mighty Mekong River splits into seven major braided channels. This pristine area of precious wetlands screamed out for international protection as provided for under the Ramsar Convention, a protection that has been embraced by Cambodia just two kilometres away across the border. But the Lao authoritarian state opted for a hydropower dam, rather than Ramsar protection for endangered dolphins, the abundant fisheries and one of the region’s most cherished waterscapes.
Malaysian real estate company Mega-First MFCB has selected the worst possible site for the dam which has blocked the only channel (out of the seven channels) that is deep enough and wide enough for large fish to migrate, a channel that has provided an all year round effective fish passage around the rapids, rocks and waterfalls over the millennia.