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每日英語跟讀 Ep.812: 泰國湄公河下游築壩 破壞生態 Below a New Dam, a Grim Turn for the Mekong

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.812: Below a New Dam, a Grim Turn for the Mekong

The water is so clear on the Mekong River in northeastern Thailand that the sunlight pierces through to the riverbed, transforming the waterway into a glinting, empty aquarium. It is beautiful, but it means death.

泰國東北部的湄公河清澈到陽光能直射河床,把河道變成波光粼粼的空蕩水族館。一片美景,卻意味死亡。

At this time of year in Thailand, this stretch of the world’s most productive river should be brown and swollen with silt. Instead, a prolonged drought and a huge new dam over the border in Laos, the first on the lower Mekong, have stolen the nutrients needed to sustain life.

泰國每年此際,湄公河這世界最富饒河川的下游這個河段河水理應黃濁,而且水量豐沛,挾帶泥沙,而今卻非如此,長期乾旱加上寮國在邊境建了座巨型水壩(湄公河下游第一座),奪去了河裡維持生命的養分。

On another bend, the Mekong almost disappears entirely, a trickle of stagnant water surrounded by a lunar landscape of sere hillocks and desiccated roots. This is the season that fish normally spawn here, but there is no water.

在另一個河彎,湄公河幾乎完全消失,只見零星的死水水窪被乾枯小山和了無生氣的植物根部這種月球景觀包圍。這通常是魚兒產卵的季節,河裡卻沒水。

“Our nets are almost empty,” said Buorot Chaokhao, who has fished the Mekong’s waters in Nong Khai, Thailand, just across the riverine border from Laos, for nearly five decades. “Maybe our way of life on the river is finished.”

在泰國廊開市湄公河水域捕魚近50年的喬高說:「我們的漁網幾乎是空的,也許依靠河流的生活方式已經結束了。」廊開市與寮國隔湄公河相望。

The lower Mekong, which makes its way through five countries, was one of the world’s few remaining free rivers. But a hydropower boom, coupled with extreme weather patterns attributed to climate change, is radically remaking the waterway.

湄公河下游流經五個國家,原本是世上少數沒有水壩的河流之一,不過水力發電興起和氣候變遷導致的極端天氣模式,正劇烈改變這條河道。

In October, the turbines of the first lower Mekong dam, the Xayaburi, began churning upstream from Nong Khai in Laos after a series of test runs last summer. The effect of the Thai-funded dam was almost immediate, residents said.

湄公河下游第一座水壩「沙耶武里水壩」設在寮國,繼去年夏天一系列試運轉後,水壩渦輪機於十月開始在廊開之前的河段劇烈攪動河水。居民說,這座泰國出資的水壩造成的衝擊,幾乎立刻顯現。

The Mekong ran clear and depleted, appearing an eerie, luminescent blue on sunny days. Algae bloomed, choking nets. Now a month-long drought has pushed the water level even lower so those parts of the river are no longer a waterway at all but a desert of dead plants and dried-out crustaceans.

湄公河變清澈且水量大減,在陽光燦爛的日子裡發出怪異可怕的藍色冷光。水藻大量增生並纏住漁網。如今長達數月的乾旱使水位更低,部分河段根本不再是河道,而是充斥枯萎植物和甲殼動物枯乾軀體的沙漠。

With about 10 more dams planned for the mainstream Mekong’s lower reaches and hundreds more on its tributaries, a lifeline for 60 million people is being choked. Tens of millions more will be affected as farms and fisheries are compromised, even as the rich and powerful across the region profit from the hydropower business.

湄公河下游主河道及其諸多支流,依計畫還要分別再建十座與數百座水壩,6000萬人的命脈正在被扼殺,另有數千萬人會因農地和漁場劣化而受害,儘管這個區域各地有錢有勢者正從水力發電業獲利。

“We’re asking the question: Is this the breaking point for the Mekong?” said Brian Eyler, director of the Stimson Center’s Southeast Asia program and author of “Last Days of the Mighty Mekong.” “The Mekong’s ecosystem is adaptable and resilient, but the worry is that the river’s massive resource base won’t be able to overcome all these dams and extreme weather.”

著有「湄公河最後歲月」一書的華府智庫史汀生中心東南亞計畫主任艾博說:「我們要問,這是湄公河承受的極限嗎?湄公河的生態系統能適應各種變化並從中復原,但我們擔心,湄公河豐饒的資源敵不過所有這些水壩和極端天氣。」

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/350561/web/

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