China’s plans to blast large parts of the Mekong river to allow larger ships to travel south from Yunnan province to Laos have attracted the ire of environmentalists.
The Chinese are proposing dynamiting a series of rapids and river islands so that ships of up to 500 dwt can pass through Laos and onto Vietnam and ultimately to the South China Sea.
Environmentalists have warned the plans endanger would endanger livelihoods and also could send a rare species – the Mekong catfish – to extinction. They point to a 2003 study conducted by Monash University at the behest of the Thai government that claimed Mekong deepening plans were “fatally flawed”.
The countries surrounding the Mekong have all just attended the the One Belt One Road summit in Beijing, convened by Chinese president Xi Jinping.