As Southeast Asia struggles to save the last of its Mekong River and Irrawaddy Dolphins, some ponder: should these remarkably intelligent animals be given “human” rights?
Soaring Chinese demand for natural resources is wreaking environmental havoc throughout Southeast Asia. Driven by its internal needs to provide breakneck rates of job creation and economic growth, China’s developmental model has repeatedly abused the fickle regulatory environment of its neighbors to drive its thirst for commodities. It has made it clear that, whoever can provide, it will buy. At the behest of Chinese companies, countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia have rolled out the red carpet, with little regard for their fragile ecosystems.
Independent evaluations at multilateral development banks (MDBs) have called for a reform of the system of safeguards that they use to deflect potential damages to communities and the environment associated with the investments they finance. Without such mitigation, roads can harm habitats, dams displace communities and slum rebuilding hurt livelihoods.
Over-exploitation of rivers has caused a great deal of damage. Dr. Dao Trong Tu, director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Resources and Climate Change, tells Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper, in a Q&A.
Two hundred years ago, the ancestors of the Ban Pong people came to the area to try to develop the land, during a time where land titles did not exist. They had lived in peace until the government issued a land titling policy in the 1990s.
Looking out at bumper-to-bumper Monday morning traffic crawling along the Philippine capital’s main avenue, taxi driver Ranilo Banez shook his head in frustration.
What really happened in Tianjin is the result of a creeping environmental disaster unfolding across the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia, and it reflects the magnitude of the challenge that the leaders of the 10 ASEAN nations face as they seek to balance both economic growth and natural resource protection.
Cizhong, a remote Tibetan village in China’s Yunnan province, has no recourse against the onslaught of impacts from the construction of the Wunonglong dam on the Upper Mekong River.
The Karen River Watch, a coalition of Karen environmental community based groups raise concerns over the proposed hydropower dam projects on the Salween River and repeated their call for a halt to all development projects. Together with local villagers, KRW held a protest near Hat Gyi Dam, one of the proposed dam sites in Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State on March 14 to mark International Day of Action for Rivers and Against Dams.
Environmental activists are once again lashing out at the Lao government and the intergovernmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) in the hope that hydropower projects on the Mekong will be delayed or cancelled.