Help wanted to protect China's Nu River

Posted: 15 June 2006

The Interantional Rivers Network (IRN) is appealing for help to keep the Nu (Salween) River in China flowing freely. The river is one of only two undammed rivers in China.

Nu River, Yunnan Province, China. Photo: Wang Yongchen/IRN
Nu River, Yunnan Province, China. Photo: Wang Yongchen/IRN
Nu River, Yunnan Province, China.© Wang Yongchen/IRN
The Yunnan Provincial government plans to construct a series of up to 13 dams on the Nu River. The river forms part of the Three Parallel Rivers World Heritage Site, which is known to be one of the ecologically richest temperate regions of the world.

The area contains over 6,000 different plant species and is believed to support over 25 per cent of the world's and 50 per cent of China's animal species. The dams will threaten the rich biodiversity of the area, affecting many rare and endangered species.

Despite concerns about the dam impacts, the Chinese government plans to approve construction of the projects without releasing the environmental impact assessment (EIA) to the public.

IRN is calling on all those who would like to avert this threat to send a message to Zhou Wenshong, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, asking him to relay the message to Premier Wen Jiabao that the Nu River should be protected for future generations, and that the EIA should be immediately released to the public.

Known as the Salween River in Burma and Thailand, the Nu River stretches over 3,200 kilometres from its origins on the Tibetan Plateau to its delta at the Andaman Sea in Burma. It is the second longest river in Southeast Asia and is one of only two undammed rivers in China. Advice on how to compose a message, and what to say, is contained in the IRN website at www.irn.org