Mekong: discovering one of the most polluted rivers in the world

  • Mekong: where is it?
  • The problem of pollution in the Mekong
  • The extent of the Mekong between dams and drought
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The Mekong is the most important river in Indochina : with its 4,880 km , it occupies the eleventh position in the ranking of the longest rivers in the world. It is a well-known basin for a series of problems linked above all to pollution and flow, which in recent years has been reducing more and more. Comparable to the Amazon Rainforest due to its enormous biodiversity , the Mekong is a river that must be protected and saved because the species that live along its banks and in its waters otherwise risk disappearing forever.


Mekong: where is it?

The Mekong is a very long river: it originates in the Tibetan plateau and from there it descends, crosses Yunnan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam , finally flowing into the South China Sea. It is the most important river in all of Indochina: on its banks live more than 70 million people who over time have based their economy and subsistence on the ecosystem of this basin. Energy interests, however, are often overwhelming: year after year, barriers and dams have been built which have represented a source of wealth for the few and a real tragedy for most of the inhabitants.

The problem of pollution in the Mekong

The Mekong occupies the sixth position in the ranking of the most polluted rivers in the world : a gruesome figure, if we think about the fact that we are talking about one of the richest areas on the planet in biodiversity. There are 1200 species of fish that populate this river , and just as many are the varieties of plants that grow along its banks: an immense natural heritage that can only be compared to the Amazon forest . Unfortunately, precisely because of pollution, the biodiversity of the Mekong is in danger of disappearing and this would lead to dire consequences for the entire planet.

But why are the waters of this very important river so polluted? The problem of pollution in the Mekong depends on the industrial sites that arise in the vicinity: there are over 200 that dump polluting waste into the waters of this river and the situation is very worrying. In the Mekong there are several heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury, but also pesticides such as DTT : all substances that create a devastating impact on the fish and plants that arise along its banks. Have you ever wondered why a fish like pangasius is so cheap? It comes precisely from those waters: among the most polluted on the planet.


by Abdullah Sam
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