Enforcement and Compliance News

  • Air pollution rising at an 'alarming rate' in world's cities

    May 12 2016

    Outdoor air pollution has grown 8% globally in the past five years, with billions of people around the world now exposed to dangerous air, according to new data from more than 3,000 cities compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    While all regions are affected, fast-growing cities in the Middle East, south-east Asia and the western Pacific are the most impacted with many showing pollution levels at five to 10 times above WHO recommended levels.

    According to the new WHO database, levels of ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5s) are highest in India, which has 16 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.

    China, which has been plagued by air...

  • 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,...