Enforcement and Compliance News
Pollution fee high on canal clean-up list
Jan 26 2017
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Surasak Kanjanarat wants to introduce a plan to charge waste water treatment fees to households and tourists, as part of the ministry's efforts to clean up rivers and canals countrywide, including the Saen Saep canal in the capital.
At a meeting on water treatment for the Saen Saep canal, Gen Surasak said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's initiative to clean the canal will be put into action between 2017-2018, as all stakeholders have agreed to work together by focusing on enforcing the law against pollution sources.
Saen Saep is a main canal in Bangkok used for drainage and transportation. It is linked to more than 100 sub-canals...
Peering into China’s thick haze of air pollution
Jan 23 2017
As 2016 gave way to 2017, residents of Beijing, Tianjin, and many other northern Chinese cities suffered through the longest stretch of stifling air pollution ever recorded in the country. They choked through eight continuous days of thick, light-blocking haze, starting Dec. 30, 2016. This stretch of bad air began only a week after people in 70 northern Chinese cities were enveloped by similar days of haze composed of high concentrations of particles less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5).
Also known as ultrafine particulates, PM2.5 consists of solids and liquids. Its sources include carbon black from incomplete combustion as well as sulfates and nitrates. Levels of such ultrafine...
New technique IDs micropollutants in New York waterways
Jan 23 2017
Cornell engineers hope that clean water runs deep. They have developed a new technique to test for a wide range of micropollutants in lakes, rivers and other potable water sources that vastly outperforms conventional methods.
“Water quality monitoring is conventionally done by narrowly investigating one or a few contaminants at a time. We aimed to develop an analytical method that would be as broad as possible,” said Damian Helbling, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Helbling and Amy Pochodylo, M.S. ’14, published their research as the cover story in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology.
“We demonstrate that our...
China: Anti-pollution cops to take on Beijing's smog
Jan 9 2017
Officials in Beijing are taking steps toward tackling the city's long-standing smog problem with the creation of an environmental police force, according to state media.
Spearheaded by Beijing's acting mayor Mayor Cai Qi, the political crackdown on burning fossil fuels comes amid a flurry of concern over the country's choking air pollution.
The move came as a cold front Monday brought some relief to Beijingers, with blue skies visible and air quality levels back at "good" after a week of smog.
"Like many of us, I am used to checking the weather and the air quality index (AQI) of Beijing first thing...
China punishes coal, steel companies for violating pollution, safety rules
Sep 29 2016
China's state planner has punished hundreds of coal and steel companies by forcing them to close or cut output for violating environmental and safety regulations, the latest effort to crack down on the country's heavily polluting industries.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) forced two steel companies to shut completely, 29 firms to halt production and another 23 to curb output, it said in a statement on Thursday. The closures and curbs followed a nationwide inspection of more than 1,000 steel makers in the world's top producer.
Among more than 4,600 coal mines inspected, the NDRC has revoked safety certificates for 28 coal mines and forced another 286...
Waste crime is 'the new narcotics', says Environment Agency chief
Sep 22 2016
Waste crime is the “new narcotics” according to the head of the Environment Agency (EA), offering huge profits as the authorities race to catch up with the damage caused to society.
Illegal waste activity costs England £1bn a year and more than 1,000 illegal waste sites were discovered last year, more than in the previous two years combined, with 662 still active as of the end of March.
The offences, sometimes involving organised crime gangs, ranged from illegal dumping of household and industrial waste to massive frauds involving recycling fees and landfill tax. However, action by the EA led to almost 1,000 illegal sites being shut down last year, with fines and...
Haze from Indonesian fires may have killed more than 100,000 people – study
Sep 19 2016
A smog outbreak in Southeast Asia last year may have caused over 100,000 premature deaths, according to a new study released Monday that triggered calls for action to tackle the “killer haze”.
Researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities in the US estimated there were more than 90,000 early deaths in Indonesia in areas closest to haze-belching fires, and several thousand more in neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia.
The new estimate, reached using a complex analytical model, is far higher than the previous official death toll given by authorities of just 19 deaths in Indonesia.
“If nothing changes, this killer haze will carry on taking a terrible toll, year...
Regime’s absolute power is a danger to environment: experts
Sep 17 2016
The Thai Environmental Journalists Society held a forum and exhibition on current environmental issues and future challenges yesterday at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. At the forum, many speakers flagged up the environmental issues the country faces.
Surachai Throngngam, secretary-general of the EnLawThai Foundation, pointed out that many development plans still don't include proper public participation and will have severe adverse impacts on the environment and natural resources. He said this trend would continue in the future due to the military regime's use of special powers.
"The pushing forward of development projects...
Lawsuit Filed to Protect Sea Life From Ocean Acidification, Climate Change
Sep 8 2016
SAN FRANCISCO - The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today for failing to set new water-quality standards to combat ocean acidification or respond to a three-year-old Center petition demanding the agency address this growing threat to marine life. Despite scientific consensus that federal water-quality standards are outdated and inadequate to protect marine life from the corrosive effects of ocean acidification, the EPA has ignored its legal duties to update the standards.
“The EPA is ignoring the threat of ocean acidification, and that’s very dangerous. We need to act now to protect oysters, corals and other marine animals that are...
Tackling Food Waste as a Way to Save the Climate, Too
Sep 6 2016
At his hog farm about a dozen miles from Las Vegas' famed strip, Bob Combs became a celebrity of sorts for hauling thousands of pounds of leftovers from casinos' all-you-can-eat buffets and feeding it to his 3,000 pigs.
Farmers used to call the practice "garbage feeding." Today, researchers see it as a tool for stemming climate change. That's because the growing amount of wasted food around the world adds methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to the atmosphere as it rots in landfills.
Combs just happened to be a pioneer recycler.
"These buffets, they generate so much waste," said Nicole Civita, director of the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of...