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September 7, 2016

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Ecological projects to save vital watershed

WITH its headwaters in the Qinghai-Tibetan, the Mekong River starts in China and flows 4,350 kilometers through Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea.

The river has many local names as it passes through the various countries. In China, it’s called the Lancang River.

Shanghai Daily was invited to join more than 60 college students from six countries gathered at the source of the river last month for the final of the second annual Youth Innovation Competition on Lancang-Mekong.

The event, co-sponsored by Shanghai Fudan University, the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and the Shanghai International Culture Association, was held to invite proposals for ecological development of the watershed.

The theme this year was sustainable development of water and the aquatic environment. Fourteen proposals vied for final awards. A project from Laos National University that proposed mixed-plant cultivation to break monoculture and improve the health of the waterway won awards for the most creative idea and the best incubator project.

“Monoculture of banana trees or rubber trees is common on the Mekong, but that harms the ecosystem,” said student Khammy Yiayengva from the Laos team. “By adding mixed aquatic plants, we can filter the water and help keep it clean.”

Another Laotian student, Thanaphone Thongmanivong, added, “In Laos, the old generation does not pay much attention to water protection because there is so much water. But the younger generation, schooled by the Internet, has concerns for the future of waterways.”

A team from Guangxi Normal University in China won an award for its project on wave-driven power generation.

The event also produced the Yushu Declaration, which states that “the protection, development and prosperity of the river relate to the well-being of people along the river and to future regional harmony.”


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