|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc|
The Mekong Delta, fed by alluvial soil from the Mekong River, supplies around 90% of Vietnam’s annual rice shipments, and the country stands only behind India and Thailand in terms of global rice exports. The nation is also the world’s third biggest shrimp producer after China and Indonesia, and one of the top five exporters.
The future of the delta, home to around 20 million people, is threatened by urbanisation and dozens of dams, with more in the pipeline. Flooding and droughts that have led to salination, along with rising sea levels, should also be considered for the region’s development, a World Bank report said.
Dams reduce the flow of water and alluvial soil, and prevent fish movement, scientists have warned.
“Fertile soil coming from upstream in Laos has fallen by about 50 percent,” Duong Van Ni from Can Tho University was quoted by Thanh Nien newspaper as saying earlier this month.
“If more dams are built, the alluvial soil arriving in Vietnam will drop to an estimated 5 percent of the current volume,” he said.
Responding to the warning, Prime Minister Phuc has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam National Mekong Committee to look into the dangers facing the Mekong Delta and report back to him.
Full story at VN Express International.