Tunnel Work on Laos-China Railway Pollutes Local Waterways

Radio Free Asia –

Construction work on a railway project linking Laos with China is filling a creek in Vientiane province and other local waterways with waste released by the boring of tunnels, polluting the water and harming the livelihoods of local residents, sources in Laos say.

Water in the Houay Pamom Creek in the area of the Vang Vieng district’s Phahom village, though normally clear, has now been murky and clouded since Feb. 22, local villagers and restaurant owners told RFA’s Lao Service in recent interviews.

“Chemicals are flowing from Kai district, where a railway tunnel is being bored. The railway workers are spraying liquid cement onto the tunnel wall,” one village resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It’s polluted,” another villager complained of the Houay Pamom Creek, adding, “We can’t fish in the creek, and we can’t eat fish taken from the creek.”

The owner of a restaurant located on the creek meanwhile said that restaurant patrons can no longer go into the water to swim or bathe. “We don’t allow our customers to go into the water,” he said. “They have to eat in the restaurant and stay out of the creek.”

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