Success! Myanmar Has Stopped Construction of Controversial Dam


From the New York Times:

On Friday, following increasing popular agitation, the president halted work on a $3.6 billion hydroelectric dam being built by China on the Irrawaddy River to send power to Chinese provinces next door. This was a victory for Myanmar’s nascent environmental movement and the area’s minority Kachin people. That the president would stop a Chinese-backed project of this magnitude was the clearest sign yet that the country was at a turning point.

Success! Thanks in part to 24,731 Care2 members who signed the petition and expressed concern about this dam, the Mynamar government has stopped moving forward with construction plans!

When the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was made for the $3.6 million Myitsone Hydroelectric Project back in 2009, the findings were astonishing. The dam was estimated to have major environmental, social and economic impacts on the surrounding communities. Completion of the dam would lead to deforestation, erosion, cultural resource eradication, ethnic minority displacement, large scale flooding and seismic risks.

The proposed dam, intended to be the size of Manhattan, would have forced more than 15,000 people in 60 villages to relocate. It would have also been right next to a major fault line, posing countless unnecessary risks. Despite recommendations to scrap this project in its entirety, the Myanmar government hid the contents of the report until this summer when it was leaked by Chinese environmentalists.

But, on September 30, newly elected president Thein Sein promised citizens of Myanmar that as long as he was in office, construction of the dam would be halted. In their coverage of the event, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) gave quotes from Sein’s official letter to Parliament. “As our government is elected by the people, it is to respect the people’s will. We have the responsibility to address public concerns in all seriousness…So construction of Myitsone Dam will be suspended in the time of our government.”

This is a major victory for citizens of Myanmar who are finally feeling a sense of hope for their government and for their country. President Thein Sein has also opened doors for Myanmar to become allies with other countries.

From the Economist:

The government’s decision to suspend the dam comes at a time when it is also showing more willingness to engage with the West. Barack Obama’s special envoy to Myanmar was there in September. The regime has even been hinting that it might release at least some of its 2,000 political prisoners.

President Thein Sein’s radical decision has put many at ease and eager for more changes.

Care2 wants to send a huge thank you to all who signed the petition to help stop the construction of the dam!


Related Stories:

Myanmar Reassessing Controversial Myitsone Dam?

Climate Change Puts the World’s Water Infrastructure in Danger

Xayaburi Dam Across The Lower Mekong Is A Bad Idea


Photo credit: iStock


Carole R.
Carole R5 years ago

Ya... ho-o-o-o-o!

Ruth R.
Ruth R6 years ago


Jessica Laid
Jessica Laid6 years ago

thank goodness.

Harsha Vardhana R
Harsha Vardhana6 years ago

Great news. Let us be inspired for more positive action!

Dorota W.

With so much bad news around us, we need good news for a change. It reassures us that our efforts when signing petitions are not in vain.

Joy Wong
Joy W6 years ago

Thanks for the good news.

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert6 years ago

My apologies for three entries saying more or less the same thing! It didn't seem to be registering so I just did it again - and again - ........

Brenda Gilbert
Brenda Gilbert6 years ago

Heartwarming news.

Bill K.
Bill K6 years ago

hopefully now they'll embrace green energy instead

Iona Kentwell
Iona Kentwell6 years ago

More power to them! I hope this indicates a sane, ethical government who can stand up to the pressures of the region.