Upstream projects risk Mekong Delta disaster

FEARS are rising in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam about food and social insecurity caused by hydropower dams and water-diversion projects planned or already started further upstream.

The delta has an extensive system of canals and green paddy fields that stretches for kilometres, creating a part of the world that seems blessed with abundance like a virtual Garden of Eden. Local people are down-to-earth, but troubled by the increasingly frequent and serious saltwater intrusion, which destroys their crops, while the riverbanks and seashore are eroding at an alarming rate.

Lao e-waste plant raises pollution concerns

An industrial plant that mines cast-off electronics for their valuable metals appears to be pumping polluted waste water into the neighborhood surrounding Vientiane’s Special Economic Zone causing contamination levels to jump dramatically, local residents told RFA’s Lao Service.

The Hokeng Metal Processing Co. plant located in Nonthong village in Vientiane’s Saythany district reclaims copper, lead and other valuable minerals from computers, televisions, batteries and other castoff electronics, and then resells the metals to customers worldwide.

Lao PDR prepares ‘polluter pays’ legislation

The government of Lao PDR is preparing legislation for a scheme that will see industrial enterprises pay for the pollution they cause.

A Presidential Provision on Environmental Tax is expected to be submitted to the President’s Office this year and if approved will give a legal mandate for a ‘polluter pays’ scheme that aims to incentivize industries to adopt cleaner technologies and practices. Proponents also hope it will generate enough revenue to help develop a national pollution monitoring system as well as mitigate or offset some of the environmental damage from pollution.

Hemmed in by Mekong dams

[BANGKOK] The massive expansion of hydropower along the Mekong River is putting 18 per cent of the world’s freshwater fish supply at risk as well as food security in the Mekong region.

Dam development is threatening the region’s rich ecosystem and productivity, partly due to the significant reduction in sediments, according to a new book launched by the non-profit research group WorldFish and the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR).

Right way forward for the Mekong River

This week in Vientiane, the hydropower industry gather to attend the International Conference and Exhibition on Water Resources and Hydropower Development in Asia.

The conference comes at a time when the pace of dam building on the lower Mekong River mainstream appears to be accelerating at a dangerous speed, and it threatens to leave a path of destruction in its wake.

Xayaburi Dam opponents appeal against Administrative Court ruling

Residents affected by the Xayaburi Dam living in eight provinces along the Mekong River appealed to the Administrative Court Monday against five Thai government agencies that backed the building of the dam.

The appeal called for the court to reverse its previous verdict by making the five defendants - the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the National Energy Policy Council, the Energy Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Cabinet - to adhere to relevant laws.

Xayaburi Dam opponents appeal against Administrative Court ruling

Residents affected by the Xayaburi Dam living in eight provinces along the Mekong River appealed to the Administrative Court Monday against five Thai government agencies that backed the building of the dam.

The appeal called for the court to reverse its previous verdict by making the five defendants - the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the National Energy Policy Council, the Energy Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the Cabinet - to adhere to relevant laws.

Laos And China Come to Terms on Loan Interest Rate For Railway Project

"The Chinese offered us a loan with a three-percent interest rate, but we proposed that they reduce it," Somsavat Lengsavad, the country's deputy prime minister who oversees the Lao-China railway project, told the National Assembly on Dec. 11. "The rate, however, was not a barrier, and after we sent our delegation to negotiate, we finally reached an agreement on loan."? ?

Somsavat did not mention what the agreed-upon interest rate was on the U.S. $480 million loan from China, which Laos will back with five of its potash mines.

Laos ignores dam flak

The Lao government is forging ahead with the construction of the massive Don Sahong dam, close to the tri-border area with Thailand and Cambodia, within the next few weeks. The dam is yet another large-scale project being undertaken by Vientiane to make Laos "the battery of Southeast Asia". Under the programme, Laos intends to become a serious electricity exporter to its neighbours. This may happen. But what is already certain to happen is that the projects will disrupt the Mekong River and affect the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand like never before.