Key Facts about Mekong River

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Key Facts about Mekong River Blog Image


A multibillion-dollar dam project underway across the Mekong River in Laos has prompted concerns that it could result in Luang Prabang city losing its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

About Mekong River:

  • It is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the 7th longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world.
  • It has a length of about 2,700 miles (4,350 km). 
  • Course:

o It rises in southeastern Qinghai province, China.

o It originates from the Sanjianyuang in the Tibetan Plateau, with the area designated a national nature reserve to protect the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow, and Mekong Rivers.

o The river drains approximately 795,000 square kilometers and flows through sixAsian countries: China, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, where it is referred to by different names. 

  • Vientiane (Viangchan), the capital of Laos, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, both stand on its banks.
  • The river drains into the South China Sea southof Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
  • Tributaries: The left-bank tributaries (draining high rainfall areas) include Nam Ou, Tha, and Nam Khan, while the right-bank tributaries (draining the lower relief region) are Ruak, Kok, Tonle Sap, and Mun.
  • Its biodiversity is only second to the Amazon River Basin and contains about 20,000 plant species, 1,200 birds, 430 mammals, 800 amphibians and reptiles, and 850 fish species.
  • It is the river with the most large fish species, including giant freshwater stingrays, giant pangasius, Mekong giant catfish, and giant barb.

· The Mekong creates a huge delta, or triangular piece of land, in southern Vietnam. The delta has rich soil and is one of the world’s great producers of rice.

Q1: What is the Tibetan Plateau?

It is a vast high plateau of southwestern China. is the most extensive region of elevated topography in the world. It encompasses all of the Tibet Autonomous Region and much of Qinghai province and extends into western Sichuan province and southern Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.It is surrounded by high mountain ranges, including the Hindu Kush to the west, the Himalayas to the south, the Kunlun Mountains to the north, and the Qilian Mountains to the northeast. It has an elevation exceeding 4500 m (14,800 ft).

Source:Dam project across Mekong River in Laos raises fears