River of no return: Mekong faces grim future

Prime ministers, presidents and heads of international banks have caused a potential catastrophe.

The Mekong River is again striking record lows, threatening crop production, fish stocks and the livelihoods of 70 million people amid rampant over-development and dire warnings. But this year’s drought, the second in three years, could mark a turning point and a bleak future.

Scientists, backed by environmental activists, have warned for nearly two decades that frenetic dam construction could kill the world’s 12th longest river. And plain-speaking counter-terrorism experts say that would provide the same recipe that produces failed states and conflict.

The tragic reality is that self-righteous, corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen, working in tandem with political systems that shut down dissent, have ignored the science and are now facing a reality they can only wish would go away as droughts become more common.

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