Last update 10/17/2011 8:00:00 AM (GMT+7)
  

Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power projects: Unfair game
VietNamNet Bridge – Phan Huu Khanh, deputy director of Cat Tien National Park, uttered that for the first time he knew about the following argument: destroying original a forest to build new forest to create CO2; developing reservoirs to have more space for fresh-water crocodiles and to serve rhinos; encouraging development of hydro-power plants to destroy Cat Tien National Park’s environment.

Destroying original forests at any cost!


Perhaps Deputy Minister Hua Duc Nhi did not make a field trip this way.

The Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (Vacne) said the Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects have negative but unserious impacts on the environment, the Cat Tien National Park and Dong Nai River.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Forestry General Department, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Energy Department and representatives of Binh Phuoc and Dak Nong provinces also uphold Duc Long Gia Lai Group, the investor of these projects. According to them, it is okay if the investor re-compiles the reports on environmental impacts.

However, the author of this article is anxious when Dong Nai and Lam Dong provinces petitioned to stop the projects, while Binh Phuoc and Dak Nong supported these projects. Whether it is related to the country’s highest forest destruction paces at these provinces?

According to statistics--more than, 1,760 hectares of forest in Dak Nong were destroyed in 2004-2009. Binh Phuoc is more “famous” for destructing forest through building “farms.”

Tran Van Mui, director of the Dong Nai Nature and Relic Reserve, told the press that while Dong Nai province tries to preserve forest, Binh Phuoc keeps saying that the forest is “poor” and destroys original forest to build rubber trees.

Tran Van Thanh, director of the Cat Tien National Park, who has worked there for 20 years, said that many scientists who have never visited his park, spoke at seminars like they knew about his park very clearly.

Dr. Vu Ngoc Long, vice head of the Tropical Biology Institute, said that it is unfair and injustice if the investor is allowed to make mistakes and correct the mistakes until they get the license to build hydro-power plants in Cat Tien National Park.

If Long and Thanh are right, Cat Tien National Park is now in danger because the investor is trying to “eat” the original forest at any cost!

It is unfair!

Previously, the public detected that the first reports on environmental impacts were copied. The reports were fine-tuned and sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment but scientists also discovered many problems.

On September 15, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi and some officials made a field trip to the sites where the two power plants are located, but scientists said that that trip was “riding a horse to enjoy flowers.”

Lam Dinh Uy, from the Center for Biodiversity and Development, said one could reach the two sites after two days, just in case he/she has good health and familiar with traveling in forest and if it is does not rain in many days before the trip.

“I suppose that Mr. Hua Duc Nhi, scientists and officials who supports the projects have not made such trips,” Uy said.

It is quite far and extremely difficult to go from the designated site for Dong Nai 6 plant to Dong Nai 6A. Forest density at the two places is also different because the forest at the site for Dong Nai 6A plant is virgin forest.

To reach the location of Dong Nai 6A, there are some stretches of road that visitors will have to walk and even “crawl.” To cross streams during the rainy season, visitors will have to use ropes. Whether Deputy Minister Nhi has experienced this kind of field trip, particularly in his latest trip?

At a seminar on managing watershed forest and the water basin of Dong Nai River, held at Cat Tien National Park on August 7, Vu Ngoc Long spoke frankly that he could point out all mistakes from each line and each page of the reports on environmental impacts of Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects.

Long stressed that such reports could not be submitted to the Prime Minister. “We need civilized behaviors to fairly evaluate the effectiveness of these projects for the lives of ethnic minority groups and people who are living in the downstream area, for our future generations, for creatures in forest and for Cat Tien forest,” he added.

One of the seven recommendations of the World Commission on Dams is respecting and listening to the people’s opinions. Is it fair for those who live in the areas where Dong Nai 6 and 6A hydro-power plants will be built in particular and 16 million of people in the downstream area of Dong Nai river in general, when civil servants have chosen interest groups instead of community interest?

Odd arguments

After reading Vacne’s documents about Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects, Phan Huu Khanh, deputy director of Cat Tien National Park, uttered that this is the first time he knew about the following argument: destroying an original forest to build new forest to create CO2; developing reservoirs to have more space for fresh-water crocodiles and to serve rhinos; encouraging development of hydro-power plants to destroy Cat Tien National Park’s environment.

“It sounds good but we should not learn this lesson!” he concluded.

Le Anh Tuan, from the Institute for Climate Change Research of the Can Tho University, questioned that whether forest are not only destroyed by illegally chopping forests but also by some intellectuals?

Vu Ngoc Long said that Vacne’s support of Dong Nai 6 and 6A projects is backing environmental destruction and against sustainable development. He said he refused to attend Vacne’s seminar.

Many scientists said that they would put forward scientific evidences about diverse biodiversity in the locations where are designated for the two power projects.

What do you think? I personally trust scientists who have made specific surveys than officials who only sit at their desks.

Mai Quoc An
 
*
*
*
  Send