A scholar who works at Thailand’s Thammasat University has told Xinhua that it is too early for Thai scholars and media to oppose the plan to clear islets and rocky outcrops along the Mekong River to boost shipping navigation as there is no clear evidence that such a plan would cause environmental or social damage.
Zhu Zhenming said the plan includes a survey and environmental and social assessments: “As we are just in the process of studying, we should wait and see the result of the assessments.”
Zhu, who is a professor of the Yunnan Academy of Social Science, raised the potential for tourism. The waterway will make travel to the ancient Laotian capital Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site, more convenient, he said.
“Passenger ports are to be built according to the plan and they are sure to attract tourists as they will be able to enjoy the landscape of two sides of the river during the trip, and countries along the river may benefit from the growth of tourism,” Zhu said.