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  • Once teeming with fish, the river is now filled with forlorn fisherfolk who say they’re lucky to have catch at all, as more hydropower dams are built up and down the river

  • Activists say dam operators and the Mekong River Commission must be accountable for the ecological impact, while experts are urging fisheries to turn to solar and wind power

 

A fisherman checks his net along the Mekong River in the northeastern Thai province of Nong Khai. File photo: AFP

 

The sight of Thai fishermen forlornly casting their nets, with scant hope of a decent catch from a great river once teeming with fish, reflects the sad decline of the mighty Mekong, now reeling from over-exploitation and the feverish proliferation of hydropower dams.

Laos has two dams on the Mekong River, with seven more scheduled to be constructed. Upstream, in China, 11 dams are currently in operation.

“Our Mekong is dying,” laments environmental expert Dr Chainarong Settachua from Maha Sarakham University in Thailand’s northeastern Isaan region.

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