The Tonle Sap, the great river system of Cambodia, could dry up within 25 years if no action is taken against illegal mining and logging, a government official said Saturday.
Each year, alluvial soil of about 1.6 inches fills the river bottom, which is only about three feet deep during the dry season, said Mok Mareth, the minister of environment.
He blamed it mostly on the gem and log trade in the Khmer Rouge guerrilla-held area of Pailin in the country’s northwest. The trade is mostly with Thai companies.
Trees block erosion. Mining strips away the topsoil, which runs into the river.