Enforcement and Compliance News
Calls for action mount as six Indian cities hit top 10 of air pollution
May 12 2016
Environmental campaigners in India have called for the government to implement a “stringent, time-bound” plan to curb air pollution in cities, as a new World Health Organisation report suggests that six of the 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India.
The report, which contains data from 795 cities in 67 countries between 2008 and 2013, shows Indian cities have some of the highest concentrations of particulate pollution, which can cause fatal damage to the heart and lungs.
According to the WHO, air pollution is currently the greatest environmental risk to public health and causes about 3 million premature deaths globally every year.
Six Indian cities –...
China gets tougher on environmental violations
May 11 2016
China imposed stiffer punishments on companies that violated environmental laws last year, according to new research that illustrates Beijing’s growing resolve to push through aspects of a greener social agenda.
The research, conducted by financial index provider MSCI, recorded a near doubling in the cost of environmental penalties on selected companies in 2015 compared with the previous year and a near tripling in the likelihood that punitive action would be taken against offenders.
The study covered 155 Chinese companies that are constituents of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
The findings correspond with Beijing’s policy — evident in the Five-Year Plan covering...
Gold miners face business shutdown
May 11 2016
Thailand's gold mining industry is set to go out of business as the cabinet has decided to stop renewing and issuing licences for gold ore exploration and gold mining following a public outcry over health and environmental issues.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted gold mining will cease by the end of this year. Steps will also be taken to rehabilitate mining areas and help workers set to lose their jobs.
Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang said the cabinet had acknowledged a joint decision by four ministries - the Industry, Public Health, Natural Resources and Environment and Science and Technology ministries - to stop...
Pesticides blamed for sickening 31 in Battambang
May 9 2016
Water contaminated by pesticides has been blamed for poisoning 31 people in Battambang’s Samlot district.
The victims, aged from 6 months to 40 years, were taken to Ka Sang health centre suffering vomiting, fever and headaches after using water from a stream and pond in Prey Thhom village on Thursday. All were expected to recover.
Provincial health service deputy director Ouk Vithiear said pesticides probably seeped into the water from the surrounding farmland.
“Pesticides used by local farmers got into the local pond and spread to a stream, where people get drinking water, on May 3,” said Vithiear.
However, Prey Thhom village chief Chmunh Deab said many of...
China tries a different tack to curb air pollution
May 4 2016
SHANGHAI/BEIJING -- The dark haze of pollution enveloping Beijing is not only a serious health hazard, it also disrupts daily life. "When pollution is really severe, schools close down and I have to ask for leave from work to take care of my 8-year-old daughter," said Zhang Caixia, a 34-year-old mother of two who lives in the Chinese capital. "It's affecting my life a lot."
In Beijing, concentrations of PM2.5 -- fine particles of dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets that are suspended in the air and are considered especially hazardous -- briefly exceeded 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter at the end of last year, 40 times the World Health Organization's recommended guidelines...
Capital residents want city to inspect cement factory
May 3 2016
Representatives of 51 families living in the capital’s Chbar Ampov district yesterday delivered a petition to Phnom Penh Municipal Hall calling on authorities to inspect a cement factory they fear may be dangerous and damaging to their health.
The Sambath Meancheng Concrete Company operates a sand-dredging and cement-mixing business in Veal Sbov commune’s Kdei Ta Koy village. Residents say the factory fills their home with sand and cement dust, and that its machinery keeps them awake at night, vibrating with such intensity that it causes nearby buildings to crack.
“Cement flies into the house and onto our clothes,” said Bu Phalla, one of the representatives who delivered...
Gold-mining in Peru: forests razed, millions lost, virgins auctioned
May 1 2016
Three people in a motorised canoe on the mighty River Santiago in Peru’s northern Amazon some weeks ago saw something deeply alarming. It was one dredge and between 15 and 20 men mining for gold up one left-bank tributary.
Two of the people in the canoe were consultants for Lima-based NGO DAR, which has dubbed the River Santiago Peru’s “last frontier” for illegal mining. “In the Amazon gold extraction is only known about in the Madre de Dios and Puno regions in the south of the country,” Esteban Valle Riestra, one of DAR’s consultants, told the Guardian. “The shift to the north, where in the Santiago basin it started within the last three years, is something new.”
Long-term exposure to particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers
Apr 29 2016
The study between the University of Birmingham and University of Hong Kong, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to growing concern around the health risks of prolonged exposure to ambient fine particulate matter.
Particulate matter is the term for particles found in the air, including hydrocarbons and heavy metals produced by transportation and power generation, among other sources. This study focused on ambient fine particulate matter, or matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5).
For every 10 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m³) of increased exposure to...
Klity villagers fight never-ending battle
Apr 27 2016
Justice delayed is justice denied. This legal maxim hit the victims of the Klity creek lead poisoning tragedy hard on Tuesday.
Ethnic Karen forest dweller Kamthorn Srisuwanmala, 47, and other victims of the lead poisoning at Klity Lang, Kanchanaburi, arrived at the provincial court with high hopes. They left with heavy hearts.
The Supreme Court was scheduled to issue the final verdict in their court case against Lead Concentrates (Thailand), the mining company which released toxic waste water into their creek for decades, resulting in numerous deaths, illnesses and disabilities.
Since the First and Appeal courts already ruled in the Klity forest dwellers' favour,...
Final ruling on Klity Creek compensation case delayed
Apr 26 2016
A final ruling in a 119-million-baht lawsuit against a lead-separation company for poisoning a natural water source in Kanchanaburi 13 years ago was postponed on Tuesday after the provincial court found a defendant had yet to pay a court fee.
The suit, filed by eight Karen villagers, named Lead Concentrate (Thailand) Co as first defendant and its owner, Kongsak Kleebbua, as second defendant.
The court postponed the reading to June 21 on the grounds that it could not announce a Supreme Court ruling in the case unless Mr Kongsak would settles a 200,000-baht court fee, said Somchai Armeen, a member of the Lawyers Council of Thailand.
In 2012, the Appeal Court said it...