Asian cultivated rice is the world’s most important staple, producing food for half the global population. It is now more important than ever as an additional 112 million tonnes of rice are expected to be needed to be produced on shrinking land by 2035.
With name-calling and scapegoating over the polluted haze, governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore engage in a rhetorical exercise. In reality, all parties are skating around the real issues.
It’s surprising that while demand hits have caused factory closures, falling coal consumption and less auto traffic, leading to blue skies the world over, the palm oil industry continues its environmentally damaging practices unabatedly.
Given the Mekong’s critical state arising from 11 Chinese dams and the recent Xayaburi dam in Lao, a moratorium on all hydropower construction on the Mekong as part of a “New Deal to Save our Mekong” is needed now before it's too late.