19 May 2024

The changing colour of the Mekong River, from brown to aquamarine, is proving to be a boon for local tourism businesses, but the catches by local fishermen have reduced substantially.

People from neighbouring provinces have travelled to Khong Chiam district, of Thailand’s north-eastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, which is on the banks of the Mekong River, to watch the rare natural phenomenon and to photograph the unusual event.

The waters are reported to be crystal clear down to the sandy riverbed.

Fishermen, however, have complained that they are hardly able to catch any fish because the waters are so clear that the fish may see their nets.

77-year old Mr. Chawee Kormanee, a fisherman who doubles as the skipper of a boat shuttling between the Thai and Laotian sides of the river, admitted that this was the first time he had ever seen the Mekong River waters looking so clear.

It is reported that the same phenomenon is occurring in Khemmarat, Na Tarn and Po Sai districts, but agriculture has not been affected so far because farmers can still draw water from the river to irrigate their fields.