“On December 28, Hun Sen presided over the groundbreaking of the 338-megawatt Stung Russey Chrum Krom project in Koh Kong, which is being built by China Huadian Corporation.
The projects have drawn criticism from environmentalists, who have raised concerns about the impact the dams could have on Southern Cardamom’s Protected Forest and the livlihoods of local residents.
Ame Trandem, Mekong Campaigner for the NGO International Rivers, said yesterday that the dams pose a major risk to “more than 2,000 hectares of evergreen forest and animal habitat which are expected to be inundated by the dam’s reservoir”. She added that the “natural flow of the river will be significantly disturbed”.
Trandem said there has already been disruption and water pollution from the influx of construction workers to the area and called for construction to stop “until a proper environmental mitigation plan is developed and carefully implemented”.
Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum, yesterday called for a committee of community leaders, local authorities, civil society, company representatives, and relevant ministries to be formed in a bid to increase transparency around dam projects and include local groups in decision making.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Stung Russey Chrum Krom project, however, Hun Sen lashed out at critics of the dams, saying environmental impacts were a natural consequence of economic progress.”
Read more: The Phnom Penh Post