Whole forests are cleared and
mountains laid bare
Sand bars emerge at the narrows
Not so far in the future, Myanmar’s people may disappear
Did we drink our own blood?
This is the frightening thought
That one day the river might be dead.
A report from Myitsone, Myanmar in the International Herald Tribune:
"The massive dam under construction in this remote corner of Myanmar is generating a litany of concerns that are not uncommon to such projects: about the risks of tampering with nature, about damage to wildlife, about the displacement of villagers.
"But for many people in Myanmar, also known as Burma, the fears surrounding the Myitsone dam go much deeper. It will be the first dam across the Irrawaddy River, the iconic, even mythic waterway that has given life to centuries of Burmese civilization.
"Passions are high. A government minister broke down in tears at a news conference last month when asked about the dam. High-ranking officials are said to be sharply divided over the wisdom of the project.
"And in an authoritarian country that has begun to experiment with looser controls on the news media, the controversy has raised the prospect of something exceedingly unusual: that public outrage might actually force the government to reconsider its plans. Read more.
The good news arrives from the USA where a long struggle has resulted in removing the Elwha dam in Washington state.
[UPDATE - 9/22/11 - A new Department of Interior report says that dismantling the four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River would cost less than maintaining them.]
The bad news is that Brazil's Belomonte monster dam is moving ahead and more than 100 dams are being planned for Amazonia.
International Rivers is a good place to follow the global developments. Check it out.