Thai conservationists oppose plan to dredge Mekong River

Channel NewsAsia

Conservationists in Thailand are worried that dredging the Mekong River would destroy ecosystems supporting numerous fish and bird species in the 180km stretch that flows past the northern province of Chiang Rai.

The drop in fish population would affect millions of people – not just those living in riverside communities, they said.

China initiated dredging in 2001 as a way to make it possible for very large cargo ships to carry goods from its landlocked southern province of Yunnan downstream to ports in Thailand, Laos and the rest of Southeast Asia.

In December last year, the Thai government gave the go-ahead for a survey along the Chiang Rai stretch to determine how much dredging would be needed to make the river passable for large ships carrying up to 500,000kg of cargo.

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