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Conserving the Mekong River: A Life Source of Southeast Asia

2023-03-24
Език:English
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The Mekong is the 12th-longest river in the world and the longest in Southeast Asia. As this vital river flows through multiple international borders, it’s not surprising that it is known by many different names. Each name reflects particular characteristics and is a testament to the great diversity of cultures and ethnic groups within the six regions it passes through.

More than 60 million people depend on the Mekong for their primary source of income. Over the centuries, people living around the river have depended on its water supply for sanitation, cooking, irrigation, as well as transportation. The citizens of Cambodia and Âu Lạc (Vietnam) are especially reliant on the Mekong for their livelihoods. Additionally, the river remains a major trade route between Western China and Southeast Asia.

The Mekong is considered a biological treasure trove, and it is the second-most biodiverse home to members of the fish kingdom in the world. This is the highest concentration of ecoregions in mainland Asia. More than 20,000 vegetation types, 1,200 bird-people species, 800 amphibian- and reptilian-people species, and about 430 species of mammal-people inhabit the Mekong’s waters and riverbanks. Apart from this, new species of plants and animal-people continue to be discovered here.

The Mekong River Basin’s wetlands, apart from supporting the social, economic, and cultural systems, play an important role in supporting the livelihoods of the local people through revenue generated from various agricultural, handicrafts, and tourism activities. Natural wetlands absorb potentially disastrous floodwaters during the wet season. Mangroves in the delta’s coastal areas prevent shoreline erosion and trap nutrients that support agriculture and marine lives. Urban and peri-urban wetlands act to filter excessive nutrients and toxins discharged from agricultural, industrial, and municipal wastewater before it enters the Mekong mainstream.

Flowing water is regarded as a natural source of energy useful to humankind when converted to hydroelectric power, generated by dams constructed on rivers. Tragically, many animal-people lives are sacrificed in order to generate power for humans. Moreover, the damming of the river causes low sedimentation. The sediments in the waters of the Mekong naturally help to control the flow, and their depletion have an adverse effect on the river’s aquatic life.

Alongside humanmade dams and pollution, climate change continues to have a negative impact on natural ecosystems and agriculture throughout the Mekong River Basin. We pray that humanity acts quickly and efficiently to safeguard such amazing life sources as the Mekong by adopting the harmonious, planet-stabilizing vegan lifestyle.
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