Delta Dilemma: Environmental Stresses Threaten Mighty Mekong
By Lien Hoang
Oct. 11 — Ky Quang Vinh recalls his childhood in the 1960s in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta as an idyllic time, even under the cloud of war. When choppers weren’t roaring overhead, when communists weren’t toting arms to their southern strongholds, Vinh took to the waterways to swim and quench his thirst.
These days, Vinh mourns the polluted rivers and the bricks and concrete that have replaced ponds and bamboo. As director of the Climate Change Coordination Office of Can Tho City, he faces a different battle now, a struggle between the environment and the economy in a delta where climate change poses a bigger threat than almost anywhere else in the world.
“I’m sad and pessimistic about both the environmental problems and the response to climate change,” Vinh said. “If these issues are not resolved, then the future of the Mekong Delta will be very bleak.”