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半島影音╳湄公河的水壩威脅(上)

(前言)湄公河Mekong River)對中南半島多國歷史、文化、經濟發展至關重要,但近年來卻面臨威脅,各種變化不僅衝擊生態,也讓沿岸民眾生計難以維繫,半島電視台英文頻道製作「Damming the Mekong」節目,分成上下兩集置於Youtube上,以下將有上集片段,以及由我自行聽寫的英文稿,以及依據英文聽寫稿的中文翻譯,下集之後再上。


中文翻譯:

(0分46秒始)

湄公河源於青康藏高原,總長近5000公里,沿途流經中國、緬甸、寮國、泰國、柬埔寨,最後於越南出海,這條河流乘載這塊土地上的歷史與咒詛,也一直是中南半島核心與靈魂之所在。

Painporn Deetes(環保人士):「本地人將湄公河視為母親,Mekong的Me即母親之意,人們稱湄公河為『我們的母親』,因為她供給我們食糧、文化與傳統。」

這塊地區共有6000萬人傍湄公河及其支流而居,仰賴這條河提供日常基本所需求,但環保人士Painporn Deetes表示,湄公河正面臨嚴重威脅。

Painporn Deetes:「人們說湄公河正在改變,那就像是母親遭他人傷害,他們希望用盡一切辦法挽救母親的性命。」

Sou Rawang:「我們如今只能捕到小魚,而且數量很少。」

Sou Rawang現年77歲,他在泰國湄公河流域捕漁已逾半世紀。

Sou Rawang:「我們過去時常有60、70、甚至90公斤的漁獲,但如果你破壞魚類的食物來源與棲地,人們便無法在此生存。」

過去五年來,在湄公河畔生活與工作的人們都目睹了巨大改變,原因出自於上游的中國,湄公河在中國境內稱為瀾滄江,中國政府過去十年在江面興建兩座水力發電廠,供應國內快速增加的用電需求。但水壩也影響下游水流,雨季時水壩攔水備用,降低了水患頻率;乾季時洩洪,讓水位高於正常情況,這項變化對許多下游民眾帶來許多災難,因為過往在乾季時,湄公河沿岸居民便利用河堤種植蔬菜自用或轉售。

Nakorne Jitangkul:「多數蔬菜只是供自家食用,但也會拿些出去賣。」

Nakorne Jitangkul是漁夫也是菜農,他從小便在泰國湄公河岸種植甘藍菜、萵苣等蔬菜。

Nakorne Jitangkul:「過去這整片地就是一塊大菜園。」

乾季水位下降後,富含河川沉積物養分的河岸與沙洲便會露出,許多沒有農地的貧困家庭便趁機栽種蔬菜做為唯一收入及食物,然而自從中國興建水壩後,突如其來的大水每每淹沒菜園,這種現象過去從未發生。

Nakorne Jitangkul:「水流改變,耕地也隨之改變,對於我們這些沒有魚、沒有農地、沒有菜園的小人物,實在造成許多問題。」

Manida Wutikorn(菜農):「我每天都來澆水照顧我的菜園,長成後要拿出去賣錢。」

過去五年來,Manida Wutikorn每天把青菜拿到鎮上賣,賺些微薄收入,但她說現在愈來愈困難,因為河水會突然高漲,一天便將菜園淹沒。

Manida Wutikorn:「現在能耕種的地不多,只有幾個家庭還能在此種菜。」

她的丈夫Nipon則在河岸沙地上種豆芽。

Nipon Wutikorn:「今日河水變化莫測,某天水位上漲,隔天又消退,我們這些小人物根本無法工作,日子很苦。」

湄公河如今洪旱規律已不若往昔,全受上游人為決定操縱,當需要電力時,中國水壩管理人員便開閘放水,讓下游水位迅速提高,湄公河於是忽然變成一股強大的毀滅力量,在中國、緬甸、泰國、寮國等地沖蝕河堤與數千家庭辛苦呵護的菜園。

乾季時,河岸居民會採集淺水地區生長的野生藻類「kai」,是民眾重要的食物與蛋白質來源,但這種藻類只能生存於陽光可穿透的淨水,但由於水位變化快速、水中沉積物增加,湄公河許多地區已見不到這種藻類。

湄公河之所以改變,是因為東南亞經濟快速轉型,而背後還有一股龐大的市場力量做為推手,中國經濟近年來成長速度驚人,大量進口東南亞產品,也大量出口產品至東南亞,在泰國的港口邊,來自中國的貨櫃正卸下蘋果、甘藍菜、大蒜等農產品,另一個貨櫃則滿載泰國的魚露與乾燥食品,與中國貿易在此是成長飛快的新興產業。

Tawat Sumlicharoan(卡車司機):「與六年前我剛開卡車的時候相比,現在生意更多,而且增加得很快。」

隨著貿易日增,中國、緬甸、寮國與泰國簽署自由航運協定,讓四國船隻能自由航行於湄公河上,也因此讓河流上的人為改變更多,中國工程師以改善航行情況與增加貨港吞吐量為由,用炸藥清除湄公河在寮國與緬甸流域的激流及河岸,一方面爆破石塊,另一方面將河道挖深。

Painporn Deetes(環保人士):「他們試圖將原始的湄公河改造為可供大船入港的便利大道。」

中國政府宣稱改善計畫已經過世界級的環境衝擊評估,並符合四國法律規範,其他三國不願拒絕這項計畫,但全球各地都有許多人士反對,許多人認為激流正是湄公河的特色:

Tuenjai Deetes(泰國國會議員):「人們說湄公河已不見了,只是條和湄公河石塊座落相似的河,已經變成其他的河。」

四年前,泰國境內的湄公河激流幾乎已消失殆盡時,泰國政府才下令計畫暫停,但已對湄公河造成深遠損害,炸毀激流反而讓水位變得更不穩定,生態也遭到嚴重衝擊,湄公河魚類極具多樣性,據統計共有近800種魚類,在全球僅次於亞馬遜河,專家指出,激流在湄公河魚類生存中扮演重要角色,當地漁夫尤其清楚這一點。

Sou Rawang(漁民):「大石塊那裡是魚群生長區域,魚群都在其中生活。」

失去了魚群生長繁殖的激流,湄公河漁獲量可能大跌,但中國堅持必須繼續航道改善計畫,要將泰寮邊界的激流炸除,以挖掘供大型貨輪行駛的水路。

Tuenjai Deetes(泰國國會議員):「但如果中國政府真的炸毀所有激流,湄公河將成為失去生命的大運河,沒有生物、沒有文化,一切都會被毀滅。」

(11分25秒止)


英文聽寫稿:

Damming the Mekong

It begins its journey on the high plateau of Tibet, flowing nearing 5000 kilometers through southern China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia, reaching the sea in Vietnam, carrying the history of this land and its curse, the Mekong River is cherished as heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia.

Painporn Deetes (environmental activist): "For the local people, we regard the Mekong River as a mother. The word 'Me' means mother, and we call her like 'Our mother,' because she provides us food and culture and tradition."

On the banks of the Mekong and its branches, more than 60 million people depend on its waterway for the essentials of their lives. Environmental activist Painporn Deetes says the river now faces serious threats.

Painporn Deetes: "People say that the Mekong is changing, and for them it's like their mother being hurt by someone else. And they feel they can do anything in order to save the life of their mother."

Sou Rawang: "We can fish like this today, small fish, and not too many."

Sou Rawang is 77 years old. He's been fishing in this part of the Mekong in Thailand for well over half a century.

Sou Rawang: "We used to catch fish. They were 60, 70, 90 kilograms. If you take away or destroy the food for the fish, and the places they live in the river, there will be no life for the people here."

During the last five years, people living and working on the river have seen the Mekong changed dramatically. The cause of these changes is no mystery. Hundreds of kilometers upstream in China, where the Mekong is known as the Lancang River, the Chinese government has built two new hydroelectric dams during the past ten years to generate power for its skyrocketing domestic needs. The dams affect the flow of the Mekong downstream and in wet seasons storing water and decreasing flood levels and in dry seasons releasing water and raising the level of the river above its natural flow. And the impact downstream is proving disastrous for many communities. In the dry seasons families living along these banks have always relied on them for growing vegetables for household consumption and selling.

Nakorne Jitangkul: "Most of these is just for us to eat at home, but we might sell some of it."

Nakorne Jitangkul is a fisherman and gardener. He's been raising cabbage, lettuce and other vegetables here in Thailand since he was a boy.

Nakorne Jitangkul: "In the past, there was a large garden covering this entire place."

As the river water level decreases, it exposes riverbanks and sandbars that had been fertilized by sediments from the river flow. And for many poor families without farmland, crops from these riverbank gardens are their only source of income and sustenance. But since the dams were built in China, gardens like these have been repeatedly washed away by unexpected floods that have never occurred before in the dry seasons.

Nakorne Jitangkul: "The flow of the river has changed so the land for cultivation here has also changed. It’s causing many problems for everyone because there’s no fish, no farms, no gardens for small people like us."

Manida Wutikorn: "I come here everyday to water and tend my garden. We need to sell what we grow here."

Manida Wutikorn makes a little money each day selling her vegetables in town. She's been doing this for five years, but she says it's now becoming impossible. These days the river could unexpectedly rise and destroy this garden tomorrow.

Manida Wutikorn: "There is not much land now for planting. Only a few families can grow their gardens here."

Her husband, Nipon, grows bean sprouts in the river sand.

Nipon Wutikorn: "The river is unpredictable now. Someday it goes up, and tomorrow it goes down again. Small people like us can't do this job anymore. It's very difficult."

The Mekong River here no longer flows in the natural cycle of flood and draught. It's manipulated by decisions made by men upstream. Responding to demand for electric power, the managers of the Chinese dams release water through their turbines, quickly raising the level of the river of their downstream. Virtually overnight, the Mekong becomes a powerfully destructive force in China, Burma, Thailand, and Laos, eroding its banks and wiping out the carefully tented gardens of thousands of families.

In the dry reasons, villagers harvest the wild river algae called "kai" that grow in the shallow water near the banks. It's important source of protein and food security for these people. But "kai" grows only in clear water that allows some light to reach it. Now with changing river level and more sediment in the water, "kai" is disappearing along many stretches in the Mekong.

Behind the changes on the Mekong, there are powerful market forces at work driving a rapid transformation of Southeast Asia economy. The giant engine behind this is the astonishing growth in China, a massive market for the products of these nations and a highly competitive exporter of the products they need. Here at the port in Thailand, a Chinese cargo boat unloads its shipment of apples, cabbages and garlic. At the same time, another is loaded with fish sauces and dry foods from Thailand. Trade with China is big business here and it's growing.

Tawat Sumlicharoan (Truck Driver): "There's much more businesses than when I started here six years ago. It's growing very fast."

Expansion of trade on the river led to a free navigation agreement between China, Burma, Laos and Thailand, allowing ships of the four nations to navigate freely on the Mekong. And that has resulted in further man-made changes to the river. Citing the need for navigation improvements, to allow use of much larger cargo ships, Chinese engineers have dynamited rapids and shores on the river in Laos and Burma, blasting away rocky obstructions and clearing deeper channels for traffic.

Painporn Deetes (environmental activist): "It's trying to make the mighty Mekong, the rough river, to be a smooth superhighway for the large ships."

Chinese authorities claimed they conducted this work in accordance with the world-class environmental impact assessment that complies with the laws of all four nations. The other parties of the navigation agreement were reluctant to object, but there is worldwide disapproval. Many feel the rapids are the essential parts of this river.

Tuenjai Deetes (Thailand National Assembly): "And they say that the Mekong is actually not a river. It is a river with rock similar with Mekong. It's not Mekong anymore. It is something else."

Four years ago, after much of the river was blasted and cleared upstream from Thailand's border, the Thai government called for a halt of the project. But profound changes to the Mekong had already happened. Blasting the rapids resulted in increase water ferocity, contributing still further to the river's drastic fluctuation and level. And it has caused serious damage to the river's ecology. The Mekong has supported one of the world's most diverse fisheries. Nearly 800 species of fish, second only to the Amazon, and experts say rapids like these play a major role in the life cycle of many fish that live in the Mekong. The fishermen here have always known that.

Sou Rawang (fisherman): "These big rocks are living areas for the fish. It's where they live and rest."

Without the rapids that provide as essential habitats for the fish to feed and breed, the Mekong's fisheries could decline drastically. But China insists on the need to continue its navigation improvement project by blasting away these rapids along the Thai-Laos border and then to dredge a safe channel for giant cargo ships.

Tuenjai Deetes (Thailand National Assembly): "But if the Chinese government actually blasts all the rapids, the Mekong will be just like a big canal with no life in the river. No life I mean biological life and cultural life. Everything will be destroyed."

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本文發布時間為August 20, 2007 9:12 AM.

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