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Mekong Delta Plans for Protection and Development

Sustainability +1 more

MEKONG DELTA, VIET NAM - Scientists, sociologists, environmentalists, and representatives of international organisations explored measures to ensure sustainable development of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta at a meeting held in Can Tho, Viet Nam.

Organised by the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) in early June, it aimed to expand the involvement of stakeholders in the decision-making process for protecting cultural and natural resources, while improving the livelihoods of local residents and conserving wetland ecosystems, reports the VietnamNewsService.

Besides aquaculture, other activities are having an adverse impact on the environment.

The construction of dams along the upper Mekong River could affect the ecosystem as the flow of the river could alter, trapping sediments, blocking fishes’ migration routes, and reducing nutrients and productivity, according to the WWF’s Viet Nam country programme manager, Ruth Matthews.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is already seeing a depletion of fish stocks, more severe flooding during the rainy season, and water scarcity in the dry season.

"Many protected wetland areas will be under threat, and agricultural land, secondary food crops and aquaculture areas will decline, while production and capacity will fall," said Dr Le Anh Tuan of Can Tho University in comments on the effects of climate change.

"Forests, land, water resources, wildlife, and minerals will be overexploited and damaged," he warned further

Participants of the event suggested that managers and local residents should be informed about climate change in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.

"People are the most important factor. They can contribute to the process that can reduce the impact of climate change to the delta. So they have to understand what is happening around them," Prof Doan Canh of HCM City’s Tropical Biology Institute said.

He also suggested creating an entire Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta biosphere preservation.

"For thousands of years, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta was a very rich ecological area. If policymakers can mix development with biological preservation, it would help both protection and development," Canh added.