Navigation Project Threatens Livelihoods, Ecosystem
Blasting of rapids for a planned shipping channel on the Upper Mekong River threatens
to undermine people’s livelihoods and destroy the complex river ecosystem. The Upper Mekong Navigation Improvement Project, funded by the Chinese government, is part of a grand scheme to allow large ships to freely navigate from Simao, China to Luang Prabang in Laos. The first stage of the project has destroyed 10 major rapids and 10 scattered reefs along a 331-kilometer section of the Mekong from the China-Burma border to Ban Houayxai in Laos. This 2002 Fact Sheet describes the project and its impacts.