Monday, September 26, 2016

Mega dams bring more harm than good, says SAVE Rivers chief

MIRI: The Save Sarawak Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) views the decision by the state government to carry on with the Baleh dam project is ‘appalling’.

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) chairman Peter Kallang stressed that if the state government cared for the well-being of the people, such obsession with mega dam projects must stop.

“These dams are obsolete and destructive — thousands of dams are being dismantled in developed countries, which have recognised the ugly facts (about dam development). Sarawak ought to start investing in alternative energy now,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

According to studies put forward by the Renewable Energy Laboratory (RAEL) of University of California, Berkeley, the clearing and flooding of forest land to prepare for Bakun and Murum dams as well as the proposed Baram dam, had or could have adversely affected an estimated two-thirds of all tree and arthropod species in Borneo — an island known to have one of the most diverse rainforest in the world. This list also includes those on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of critical and endangered species.

The RAEL academicians, Prof Daniel Kammen and Dr Rebekah Shirley, had stated that while alternative energy sources as recommended by their studies would be more focused on the people, the mega dam projects had been and would be largely benefitting corporations and big business owners.

“In perhaps the most key finding, we have found that this clean energy mixture can even meet the aggressive seven to eight per cent growth per year scenarios that have been used to argue for the need for mega dams,” Prof Kammen was quoted as saying.

In view of the RAEL studies, Kallang said many mega dams around the world were removed because the negative impact that they brought forth far outweighed the benefits.

“Even in the United States — the world’s top economy — the dams are continuously being removed,” he added.

~ Borneo Post

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