The Mekong River is the 12th largest river is the world and runs through China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. This river, as many others in the world, is as important for those countries as it is for the animal life depending on it.
Here we have a good example of that.
According to The Economist, the construction of the first dam in lower Mekong is “in full swing” in Laos. The objective of this huge construction is to provide 1,300 megawatts to Thailand, which will cost $ 3.5 billion.
Although it is not possible to question the importance of energy for human beings, it is also impossible to forget that this construction could help to extinguish the endangered Mekong giant cat fish and put many other fish species at risk, as advised by the WWF.
Despite Cambodia and Vietnam protests, Laos is pushing the construction of the dam, reasoning that the dam incorporates a modern “fish-passage technology” which will allow “fish to migrate up and down stream”. Although the “fish-friendly turbines” were tested in America, The Economist pointed out that we will need years of research to be sure of the efficiency of this technology.
From this debate, a lot of questions arise:
a) Could a single country alone decide the future of a river that is important to other nations?
b) Should our energy needs wait until all risks to the environment are denied by strong research?
c) Is it worth the risk to our endangered species?
Clearly, these are very difficult questions to be answered in a post, but it is important to think about nonetheless.