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The Irrawaddy River flows 2,170 km down the length of Burma before emptying out into the Andaman Sea. Dubbed ‘The Road to Mandalay’ by Rudyard Kipling, the river has been used as a crucial trading route since the 6th century, but long before had earned its reputation as the lifeblood of the country.
From gold prospectors panning the banks in the north to fisherman and rice-growers in the delta region, the river sustains millions. But its own health is being jeopardised by the construction of a series of dams in Kachin state, which threaten to disrupt the fragile ecosystem along the length of its passage.