Biologist warns that upcoming Songkhla Lake Bridge construction will hurt dolphins

Irrawaddy dolphin, photo by Wikipedia.

A marine biologist warned that a new bridge planned across Songkhla Lake will hurt the inhabitant Irrawaddy dolphins. Dolphins are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The biologist, Thon Thamrongnawasawat, said the number of Irrawaddy dolphins in the lake is likely to drop every year. He noted that the future of dolphins is uncertain, and urged the government to consider the bridge project’s impact on them before starting construction. Thon said…

“The bridge construction across Songkhla Lake would cause an unexpected impact on the ecosystem and dolphins, such as noise during construction and decline in dolphins’ food.”

Thon added that apart from a clear project plan, the government should also offer money to preserve the dolphins.

Meanwhile, the World Bank also asked the government to consider the project’s impact on the environment and the dolphins. The government was securing 70% of the bridge’s cost from the World Bank, Nation Thailand reported.

The government approved the bridge’s construction on October 18. Construction is set to start in 2023 and is scheduled to be completed in 2026. The budget for the bridge is around 4.8 billion baht.

The reported number of dolphins in Songkhla Lake is already alarmingly low. In 2020, only 14 dolphins were found in the lake. Another 89 were found in the Mekong River.

In May this year, Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa called on all of Thailand’s political parties to work to preserve Irrawaddy dolphins.

South Thailand News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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