My travel along the mighty Irrawaddy river, on my way to Myanmar former Burma, Bagan, started at five in the morning. I spent on a slow boat all day and got definitely time to catch some interesting photos of people and life along the river.
I was in Bagan at nine in the evening, more than 15 hours on the river stopping by on every village between Mandalay and Bagan.
Photo gallery: On the Irrawaddy river
Maybe is a little bit boring because of so many hours but relaxing and interesting.
I will remember forever when, almost arrived in Myanmar former Burma, Bagan, in the middle of the dark, during one of the many stops, all of us heard terrible screams. Five or six people was trying to push on the boat a terrified and pig that was screaming madly.
The Irrawaddy river flows from north to south through Myanmar. It is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through the Irrawaddy Delta into the Andaman Sea.
As early as the sixth century the river was used for trade and transport. After Rudyard Kipling’s poem, it is sometimes referred to as the road to Mandalay.
The Irrawaddy river arises by the confluence of the N’mai and Mali Rivers that find their sources in the Himalaya glaciers of Northern Myanmar.
The river is still vital today, as a considerable amount of goods and traffic moves by river.
In 2007 the military government of Myanmar signed an agreement for the construction of seven dams, yielding a total 13,360 kW, in the N’mai and Mali Rivers, including the Myitsone Dam at the confluence of both rivers.
According to projects, the maximum water level will cause a flood zone of 766 square kilometers compromising 47 villages.
Despite the shortage of electric power in Myanmar the power generated by the dams will be sent to other countries in the region, with most going to China, other countries targeted for power export are Thailand, India and Bangladesh.
The location of the dams is less than 100 km from an important fault line where the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates meet, raising concerns about earthquakes. On 20 August 2008 a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Burma-China border.
The environmental and sociological impacts and the security concerns should be enough to stop the military to go on with this crazy project.
Environmental organizations have raised concerns about the river’s biodiversity.
Animals potentially impacted include the threatened Irrawaddy Dolphin which is found in the lower reaches of the river.
Several Turtles species and the estuarine crocodile can also be found in the southern part of the river delta.