Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Dam – it’s even harder than it looks! by Chuck Baclagon

Activist Petteri has been hard at work, blocking the drainage of carbon-rich peatland in Indonesia (read his first update – and why they are building a dam here).

Update 2

This morning we left camp with two pong pongs – local small boats – and headed for the canal we are damming. Next to the canal we have built a small shelter to protect us from the sun and occasional rain. There we fill our canteens with fresh water and have lunch breaks. I drink about 4 liters of water every day to replace fluids that I sweat out of my body. It is difficult to explain how demanding physical work is in this heat and humidity. It must be experienced – to be believed!

We have now placed 6 out of 8 horizontal beams in our dam and we have placed the first two vertical beams between them. They are hammered down to the canal bottom with our home made log rammers. Now that the base construction is finished the work can proceed faster. We just need to ensure that our material supplies are timed correctly. This can be very difficult since there are no roads where we are working and everything must be transported by pong pongs. The time and level of tide is changing daily and currently water levels are so low that our materials cant be delivered directly to the canal. We must carry them all nearly one kilometer.

Update 3

The third day of damming is behind us now. We left again in the morning with three pong pongs carrying 30 hardworking volunteers and community members. We continued from were we left off yesterday. We hammered down a few vertical poles and placed the last two horizontal 10 meter long beams.

Besides ramming some poles into the canal we also continued transportation of materials. Since the water level has been very low in Kampar river during past 5 days our material suppliers haven’t been able to deliver materials directly to the damming site. Some 80 logs have been left about 1 km away. Half of our team spent most of the day dragging the logs in a small canoe to the dam. During next couple of days we expect to receive about 1000 sand bags – hopefully this time they can delivered directly to the damming site…


>>Read more about our Climate Defenders Camp and find out how you can help

All images © Greenpeace/ Will Rose (except the last one which was taken by Nun, one of the activists)

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