Commentary: Study notes a link between sand dredging and poverty in Cambodia

Author: Sheith Khidhir, The Asean Post, Published on: 24 September 2019

"The deadly cost of sand mining", 22 September 2019

...[A]...documentary...“Lost World”...showcases the damage done to Cambodian coastal fisheries by the industrial-scale dredging of sand for sale....

...[T]he practice has largely been shut down in Koh Kong...[u]nfortunately, sand mining continues in other parts of Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia.... One of the places this dredging continues is in the mighty Mekong River.

...[T]he Mekong faces a host of threats, from China’s dam-building along the waterway to the indiscriminate dredging of sand....

...Dredging of sand in the Mekong and other waterways in Cambodia and Lao has far reaching implications. An article published by National Geographic in April noted that environmentalists have expressed concern that dredging is causing river banks to collapse, dragging down crop fields and even houses.

...[I]n Cambodia, the Borgen Project has noted that there is a link between sand dredging and poverty. This isn’t hard to imagine as sand mining also has an adverse effect on fish habitat.

“The connection between sand mining and poverty in Cambodia is seamless. The known dredging concessions were in Koh Kong and Preah Sihanoak provinces on Cambodia’s western shore. People in the fishing villages were not consulted by the companies or informed by local authorities before operations began. In the village of Koh Sralau, sand dredging has ravaged the ecosystem that thousands of families depend on for their livelihood,” the Borgen Project wrote.

As noted earlier, the Mekong and its tributaries provide water, food and income for 60 million people. Meaning that sand dredging could potentially affect the livelihoods of that large number, more than thrice the total population of Cambodia as of 2019.

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