By Saw Tun Linn
Mon, Myanmar, September 12, 2016
The Mon Youth Progressive Organisation (MYPO) has released a report analysing the potential damage to six townships in Mon and Karen States when planned dams are built on the Salween River.
The report, entitled ‘In the Balance’ was launched at a press conference held at the Orchid Hotel in Rangoon on 7 September.
Mi Ah Chai, the report’s lead researcher said that dams in the Upper Salween River could affect the ecosystems further down the river and affect the agriculture and fishing industries in the delta impacting on the livelihoods of over 500,000 people living there.
The report details how the dams could negatively affect the townships of Hpa-an, Mawlamyine, Chaungzon, Paung, Mudon, and Kyaikmaraw.
Mi Ah Chai said: “The livelihood of the people in the delta area and the ecosystem of the river can be damaged by this project. So, we demand that the government halt all the dam projects; respect the objections of the ethnic people living along this river and the social organisations calling for the conservation of the Salween River; and prevent this project from affecting the peace process.”
The 87-page report details the background of the Salween River, the construction of the dams on the river, the ecosystem of the Salween River delta, the dams’ impact on the communities who depend on the delta eco system and public awareness of the dam projects.
People with a variety of livelihoods were interviewed for the report, which was written over two years.
U Htain Lwin, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Electric power, announced on 12 August that the Salween River dam projects would be implemented.
Sai Khay Saing from Burma Rivers Network said that before they came to power the National League for Democracy (NLD) voiced objections to dam projects, but those objections stopped once they became the party of government.
Mi Ah Chai said that the MYPO plans to hold a joint press conference with residents from the Salween River delta area and to submit an open letter to the president calling on him to suspend the Salween River dam projects.
Youths and students who were passionate about democracy and nationalism established the MYPO on 18 November 2001 with the aims of promoting and preserving Mon literature and culture and uniting Mon youth.
Reporting by Saw Tun Linn for KIC News
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI
Photo credit: Nonviolent Ecology