Statement categorically opposes dam construction in Thanlwin River

A statement has been issued over the press conference on a documentary video titled “Let’s save the Thanlwin River for future greening held at Orchid Hotel in Yangon on Tuesday.

The statement strongly opposes dam construction in the Thanlwin River in Kayinni (Kayah) State, Shan State and Kayin State as it can wipe out biodiversity, indigenous lifestyles and cultures and worsen the climate.

According to the statement, China Datang Investment, Three Gorge Corporation, Sinohydro, Authority of Thailand (EGAT), local Shwe Taung Company and other local and foreign companies will invest in building dams in the river in those townships to general 16,493 megawatts of electricity. But locals and experts strongly oppose to the dam construction as it could jeopardize the lifestyles of local residents. National races living in Myanmar consider the Ayeyawady River and Thanlwin River to be their lifeblood.

Ethnic Kayinni have earning their livelihoods from agriculture relying on the Thanlwin River for centuries. Blessed with biodiversity and other rich resources, the Thanlwin River has been serving the local people’s interest. But local ethnics have raised grave concern over building large-scale dams in the Thanlwin River, the statement points out.

It also points out that local and foreign investments in dam construction in the name of peace efforts could harm trust among ethnic armed groups while human rights of local people are being violated due to armed conflicts. Moreover, dam construction will displace local people.

The statement says local and foreign investors are still trying to implement dam projects with the use of so-called international standard EIA and SIA without seeking public cooperation and by ignoring global climate change, deforestation, flooding and environmental degradation.

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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