Mon 13 Sep 2004
Filed under: News,Opinion
July 12: There is no simple way to reconcile the expanding human appetite for energy consumption with environmental conservation. Whenever a choice has to be made, economic development always seems to trump Mother Nature. Thailand has expressed its interest in sharing in the development of hydro power facilities along the Salween in neighbouring Burma to accommodate its ambitions as a magnet for foreign investment.
This depends on having a stable electricity supply. Thailand plans to share investment costs with China and Japan. A vast area of land will be inundated and the rich eco-system of the entire region will be adversely affected on both sides of the Thai-Burmese border if the dam is built, as seems likely.
Vocational training programmes are being conducted by staff of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for villagers whose lives will be uprooted. In all, hundreds of thousands will be displaced. The rainforest, along with the wildlife that can’t make it to higher ground, will have to stay where they are.