World’s Worst Man-made Biodiversity Catastrophe
world's largest plastics dump, quarry mining, exporter and importer of sand, palm oil producer, natural rubber producer, hydropower producer...world's leading in gold mining, tin mining, copper mining, overfishing, deforestation, overtourism, rapid urbanisation...
Southeast Asia’s forests have lost over 80 million hectares
Deforestation more extensive than thought, a modern plague sweeps across Southeast Asia
“Many creatures are still waiting to be found. Local people are always finding things that we scientists don’t know about. But things are changing swiftly in Vietnam, which is only a little smaller than Germany. When it comes to protecting the region’s wildlife, the peace is more dangerous than war”Vo QuyUniversity of Hanoi Biologist
“Time still remains to reverse the runaway deforestation and habitat loss of recent decades and begin better preserving the greater Mekong region’s forests and biodiversity. I’m an optimist, but only if we have real government support to protect our special places…Biologists have to give up resisting a dam such as the one at Sa Pa, in order to save threatened wild lands elsewhere”Tilo NadlerDirector of the Endangered Primate Rescue Center
“The Indonesian government has confirmed its commitment to its climate-change pledge by extending the protected area and stripping a palm-oil firm of a permit to develop carbon-rich peatland. No other country has done anything like this. The government’s transparency in providing accurate data on forested areas and clearance permits is an achievement and great step forward, although that in itself won’t do much to reduce carbon emissions”Daniel MurdiyarsoClimate-change scientist at the CIFOR
Peatland fire burning season starts
Fires have flared up in at least 10 provinces in Indonesia, with some of the burning occurring in peatlands. The burning, including in protected forests, marks the start of the country’s dry season and the attendant fires that are set to clear trees and shrubs for agriculture.
Mining sites in disaster-prone areas
104 mining concessions, covering a combined area of 1.6 million hectares (3.9 million acres), half the size of Belgium, are vulnerable to earthquakes. Forty-nine of these concessions are located on the island of Sumatra, with 23 on Sulawesi and 21 in the Malukus.
Pulp and paper firms drive deforestation
Pulp and paper companies are expanding in Indonesia by building new mills, putting more pressure on existing pulpwood plantations to increase their production. This could reverse a declining trend of pulpwood-related deforestation in recent years.
Tin, Gold, Sand, Petroleum, Silver, Copper, Zinc, Coal, Bauxite, Nickel, Tungsten, Limestone
Home to the world’s largest mines
“The Sepik River’s biological and cultural diversity is comparable to the Amazon, and its people will not be compensated for the use of their river. Mining operations would cause serious detrimental effects on the 400,000 indigenous people who rely on the river for food, drinking water and transport. Put simply, the river and all its lifeforms are priceless”Emmanuel PeniCoordinator of Project Sepik
“We're calling for an end to all offshore mining in the area. The water is cloudy now. There used to be fish and shrimp just three miles from shore. Now we must go eight miles out and, for the big fish, 17 miles. The government has spent a lot of money on local programmes teaching fishermen how to catch fish and giving us free engines. If they give us training on how to fish, then why don't they stop the mining?”Tjong Ling SiawThird-generation Fisherman
“Tin mining has been exploited here for more than 200 years, so changing people's mindsets is really a challenge for us. The eastern beaches of Bangka are the best on this island. But they're also very rich in potential tin. When there's mining in front of Bangka's beaches, it's noisy and the water becomes dirty. Tourists complain to the hotel, and the hotel complains to me”Yan MegawandiProvincial Tourism Director
The Battery of Asia
Becoming World’s Largest Battery
“The Mekong Agreement clearly stated that any country in the Mekong sub-region could ask the Mekong River Commission to halt projects which may critically affect the region. Development on the river, especially dam construction, frequently raised concerns among countries that depend on it.”Somkiat PrajamwongThailand Natural Water Resources Secretary-General
“The projects are not driven by real electricity demands but by profit-seeking energy stakeholders, including the Laotian government, which has ambitions for the country to become the battery of Southeast Asia. There is an oversupply, so why do they still want to build dams?”Pianporn DeetesCampaigns Director at International Rivers
“Laos has constructed more than 50 dams over the past 15 years. Although the rampant construction in Laos has outpaced electricity demands, a further 50 dams are under construction in rivers and streams around the country. Thailand and Yunnan Province in China have had an electricity surplus in recent years, which has resulted in limited short-term appetite to purchase more electricity from Laos.”Courtney WeatherbyThe Stimson Center
Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia
Cyclones, typhoons, floods striking Southeast Asia
2021 Cyclone Seroja, 2020 Super Typhoon Goni, 2020 Central Vietnam Floods, 2011 Thailand Floods, 2009 Typhoon Lupit, 2008 Cyclone Nargis, 2007 Typhoon Utor, 2006-2007 Malaysia Floods, 2006 Typhoon Leepi, 2006 Typhoon Bilis, 2006 Typhoon Cimaron, 2005 Typhoon Pepeng, 2004 Typhoon Chanthu, 2003 Typhoon Krovanh, 2000 Typhoon Pulasan, 2000 Typhoon Ampil,...
Citarum River, Indonesia
The world’s dirtiest river
“It is estimated that reforestation will require 125 million trees to be planted in the immediate vicinity of the river. The hope is that, in the next five years, Indonesia can end the floods partly caused by clogged garbage”Colonel YantoCoordinator of the Citarum Sector 1
“There are floods during the rainy season. My hands get itchy and the harvest is damaged. Pollution makes my rice hollow. If I keep going I'll lose money, but if I don't, I'll have no other job”Yusuf SupriyadiRice Farmer
“Factory pipes dump waste directly into waters bubbling with chemical dyes used in textiles, creating an overwhelming stench. That poses a serious health risk, especially for the five million people living in the river's basin. Many locals suffer from skin diseases like scabies and dermatitis, as well as respiratory infections from inhaling factory pollution. We keep reporting these issues to the government, but we never get a solution”Deni RiswandaniElingan Environmental Group