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Mekong Express

7countries, 7years.
Sailing on the Mekong River
Till the South China Sea

The Mekong River is the longest and most important river of Indochina, one of the largest in Asia, the eleventh world longest one, in terms of scope (475 km³ per year); its estimated length is equal to 4.880 km and its basin has a width of 810,000 km². It was born by the plateau of Tibet, through the China's Yunnan province, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and it empties into the South China Sea through the Delta in southern Vietnam, in the area of Ho Chi Minh City. The river has serious pollution problems due to many discharges of more than 210 industrial sites and for these reasons its waters are contaminated by the presence of heavy metals and arsenic. The Mekong River is included in the list of the ten most polluted rivers in the world. Despite this, it is the main source of subsistence for millions of people who live along the its course, in whose waters the inhabitants wash them and live. Around this river, there are a real water system. Its waters have also made a huge cultural borders for large stretches, because navigating the river is difficult because of the frequent rapids and seasonal variations: the river divides the region into Khmer kingdoms descended from the Indians on the one hand and those of other Buddhist religion and then the British zone of influence from those French. This is the primary means of communication of one of the most densely populated regions of the planet. In fact, about 60 million of people live along its course and their daily lives pass on countless barges, boats fishing and small boats carrying mainly rice, key ingredient of the economies of countries. Recently the Mekong river has returned topical not only for pollution issue but also for the economic exploitation, driven by Thailand or China. These counties want to build many hydroelectric power plants to increase their growing energy needs; causing inevitably a lot of problems especially for fishing and farming.This work is not limited to analyze the problems related to the river but, through the exploration of the surrounding area, it intends to expand the visual analysis on the different countries, bordering the South China Sea, which are important players of the new economic boom. In this area, in fact, in the recent years, there are shifting interests of super powers, like China and Japan, and the new developed countries whose lands are washed by the waters. The dispute over the control of the South China Sea has been the focus of the conference of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) in July 2013 in Bali, Indonesia. For these countries, the control of this area is very important for economy, trade and military strategy.

MEKONG EXPRESS is an honiric trip and a research performed in seven years and in six long journeys on the mekong River from the sources in the Yunnan province in China to its Delta in Vietnam passing through 6 countries bathed by its waters: China, Myanmar,Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I analized a section of the world that is deeply connected to its traditions despite being at the center of rapid and steady development.
Mekong Express
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