4 more mining firms get nod to operate
Jan 29 2016
PANAJI: The Goa state pollution control board (GSPCB) has decided to grant consent to operate under the Air and Water acts to four more mining companies with an iron ore extraction limit of 1.5 million tonnes. This implies that the total iron ore extraction limit has now gone up to 15 million tonnes. GSPCB chairman Jose Manual Noronha said as per the consent, Geetabala Parulekar can extract 0.9 million metric tonnes of iron ore; V G Quenim, 0.197 million metric tonnes; Dattaraj Velingker, 0.07 million metric tonnes, and N S Narvekar minerals, 0.39 million tonnes. The GSPCB, in July last year...
Mekong nations set up group for environmental impact assessments
May 15 2015
BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) -- Officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region have agreed to establish a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam. In a statement released Thursday, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and...
Mekong Governments, Civil Society Reach Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment Agenda
May 14 2015
HANOI, May 14, 2015 – In a ground-breaking agreement, government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region established a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organizations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts...
Mekong nations to set up EIA working group
May 14 2015
In the statement released today, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts of regional infrastructure projects, particularly as the upcoming Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) Economic Community further hastens trans-boundary investments. "This could set an excellent platform and process helping to increase cooperation and...
Mapping the global battle to protect our planet
Mar 5 2015
In 2012 protests erupted in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina over the demolition of a much beloved local park to build a business complex. A movement under the slogan “This Park is Ours” aimed originally at protecting the green space soon broadened into a collective movement aimed against corruption, lack of transparency, economic inequality and dwindling social services. Hundreds of protesters from all social classes and religions gathered daily in the endangered park, becoming part of a Bosnian spring that came to represent a struggle for human dignity and accountability under most...
Government and civil society support strong Environmental Impact Assessments
Dec 4 2014
Government and civil society representatives highlighted the need for strong and inclusive environmental impact assessment (EIA) policies and practices in the Mekong region at a meeting this week in Bangkok, Thailand. Organized by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE) project and the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN), the December 1-3 event, “Environmental Impact Assessment Policy and Practice in the Mekong Region: Safeguarding Sustainable Development,” brought together more than 50...
AECEN urges ADB to adopt south-south cooperation as preferred capacity building mode
Oct 14 2014
Manila, Philippines – Adopt south-south cooperation as the preferred mode for capacity building and support organizations like the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) to act as intermediaries, said Dr. Peter King, Head of the AECEN Secretariat, to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Speaking to public and private sector officials and representatives from international financial institutions and civil society at an ADB workshop held last week, he highlighted how AECEN has strengthened government capacities on compliance and enforcement, using South-South cooperation (...
Stronger leadership and more stringent legal enforcement cited as ways to improve Thailand’s environmental governance
Oct 14 2014
Bangkok, Thailand – Stronger leadership in Thailand’s environmental administration and more stringent enforcement of green regulations are among recommendations to improving the country’s environmental governance. Addressing officials from Thailand’s Ministry of National Resources and Environment’s (MoNRE) Department of Environmental Quality Promotion (DEQP), Dr. Peter King, Head of the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) Secretariat shared ways to improve Thailand’s environmental governance in his keynote address “Good Governance for Better Environment.” In his...
AECEN Strengthens EIA Compliance in Asia: INECE
Apr 25 2014
Minimizing adverse environmental impacts of economic development accompanied by rapid urbanization and industrial growth remains a significant compliance and enforcement challenge for Asia. While many governments have developed legal and institutional frameworks for environmental and social safeguards, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations remains weak due in large part to technical, financial, and human capacity limitations. In the region, effective compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements has been consistently identified as a priority...
Greening Governance in Asia-Pacific
Aug 6 2012
Once every two years, IGES releases a white paper focusing on key policy agendas in the Asia-Pacific region. The Fourth IGES White Paper, entitled "Greening Governance in Asia-Pacific" examines innovative approaches to governance and institutions that have emerged from the region and recommends governance arrangements and policy solutions to accelerate the transition to a green economy, and argues that, without significant governance reform in Asia-Pacific, global sustainable development will remain an under-implemented ideal rather than a new reality. For the paper and more information: http...
Air Force, officials tackle smog
Mar 25 2016
‘Water flights’ planned to counter pollution in Chiang Rai as residents risk health problems; agricultural fires blamed
SEVEN provinces in the North are now suffering bad air pollution, with Chiang Rai the hardest-hit and residents at risk of developing health problems. As of yesterday, the amount of small dust particles (PM10) in Chiang Rai jumped to 304 micrograms per cubic metre of air - far over the safe level of 120 micrograms.
In a bid to help ease the air-quality problem, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will dispatch planes to spray water to mitigate the problem.
The level of air pollution could affect the health of people in the area, the Pollution Control...
Haze forces 64,000 into hospitals in the North
Mar 22 2016
Dr Suraphan Sangsawang, acting director of the Regional Health Promotion Centre 10 Chiang Mai, said reports from 90 hospitals in the area showed that the number of patients with coronary artery and respiratory diseases had increased dramatically as the region's haze worsened last week.
Suraphan said Chiang Mai had the highest number of patients at 17,359, followed by Chiang Rai at 11,779 and Lampang at 10,228.
The volume of particulate matter with a maximum diameter of 10 microns (PM10) rose yesterday above the safe level of 120 micrograms per cubic metre in many Northern provinces. According to the Pollution Control Department, the three districts with the highest PM10...
Polluted village demands compensation from factories
Mar 21 2016
TRANG -- Residents of a village polluted by two factories producing raw rubber sheets say they have been offered too little compensation for the daily health hazards they face.
The people of Moo 1 village in tambon Na Muang Phet, Sikao district, complain the two nearby factories have discharged polluted water and emitted foul smells, causing hundreds of adults and children to suffer from chronic coughing, lung ailments and asthma for more than two years.
Many of them had been admitted to Trang Hospital for treatment, and some of them would be needing medical care for the rest of their lives. They said seven children were in a serious condition.
The villagers had...
Flight in North cancelled as haze problem worsens
Mar 20 2016
KAN Air cancelled a Chiang Mai-bound flight yesterday after the haze problem in Mae Hong Son rose to high levels in the Upper North, resulting in visibility being restricted to less than 1,000 metres, Mae Hong Son Airport chief Weerawat Thadong said.
Weerawat said the 12pm flight cancellation was a safety precaution.
The noon cancellation resulted in some affected passengers being transported to the city in vans, while others postponed their travel plans.
The level of small particulate matter up to 10 microns in diameter (PM10) recorded in Mae Hong Son was 233 mcg in the morning, and rose to 244 mcg at 5pm.
Anything above 120 micrograms is considered unsafe...
Green business to reap environmental policy rewards
Mar 20 2016
China’s latest round of green policies offers opportunities for environmental and renewable energy companies, analysts say, although a tougher enforcement regime may trip up those who fail to adhere to the new rules.
Environmental protection is one of the eight priorities in this year’s Government Work Plan, while the 13th Five-Year Plan outline presented to the National People’s Congress also calls for stringent environmental regulations.
Hard targets on pollution back up these resolutions. In 2016, organic water pollutants will be cut by another 2 per cent while sulfur and nitrogen-based air pollutants may go down by 3 per cent. In addition, a significant cut in airborne...
VN invents air pollution control system
Mar 20 2016
Scientists of the Viet Nam National University’s technology university have successfully developed an air pollution management system using satellite photos.
Dr Nguyen Thi Nhat Thanh, from the research team, said Vietnam had not been able to control the increasing volume of emissions from industrial production, transport, construction and rapid urbanisation.
The level of dust nationwide is measured by only six automatic observation stations managed by the Environment General Department, she said, adding that an air pollution warning system was urgently needed.
The new system measures air pollution based on data from a satellite station at the Hanoi-based technology...
‘Green vote’ and the economy
Mar 19 2016
The ‘Green Vote’ campaign by non-government organizations should go beyond politics and involve a comprehensive discussion about the environment and economy, private think tank ADR Institute on Strategic and International Studies said.
ADRI president Dindo Manhit said ‘green vote’ manifests the loud call for the next government to approach the issues of environment and economics as one comprehensive agenda.
Renowned geologist and ADRI trustee CP David agreed, saying that environmental issues facing the country are complex and will need to be seriously addressed by the candidates.
“Aside from mining, politicians vying for national positions should debate on marine...
Alarm over Rayong fish deaths
Mar 19 2016
RAYONG — Fishermen and activists in this eastern province want an investigation into the exact cause of mass fish deaths, which authorities insist are part of a natural phenomenon that occurs every year.
However, some local people suspect waste discharged from factories at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate could be linked to the thousands of dead fish that have washed up on Ta Kuan beach.
"In all my 60 years I've never seen such massive fish deaths," said Lamom Boonyong, chairman of the Ban Paknam small-scale fishermen's group. "Most of the dead fish are species that are quite resilient. Among them are pla salit hin (rabbitfish) and pla singto (lionfish).
BMA dredges weeds out of canals for water management
Mar 18 2016
BANGKOK, 18 March 2016 (NNT) – The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has dispatched more than 500 officials to different areas across the capital city to remove water hyacinths, as part of efforts to mitigate flood and drought.
Bangkok Deputy Governor Amorn Kitchawengkul presided over the opening ceremony at Lat Krabang district. The event was attended by Director of the Department of Drainage and Sewerage Sompong Wiangkaew, relevant division heads, and BMA officials.
Mr. Amorn explained that the canal cleanup was aimed at improving the capital city’s drainage system. The BMA is to complete the task by the end of the month, as instructed by the prime minister....
Central Taiwan may be marked air pollution control zone
Mar 18 2016
Central Taiwan might be designated a top-grade air pollution control zone, while a Taichung City bylaw aiming to limit coal burning to curb air pollution might be approved by the central government next week, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday, EPA Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) said that by the end of this year, Taichung, Changhua and Nantou might be designated as class-three air pollution control zones, where pollution is most severe according to the agency’s three-class categorization system.
The area was identified for potential designation as a class-three...
Govt to allow accredited consultants to prepare EIA/EMP report
Mar 20 2016
The Centre has notified that only accredited consultants will be allowed to prepare environment impact assessment reports and environment management plan for the projects seeking green clearances. The directive has come after the Environment Ministry barred UP-based Mantec Consultants for one year for preparing impact assessment and management plan reports for 10 projects of state-owned Kandla Port Trust without any permission. The impact assessment (EIA) and management plan (EMP) for any project seeking environment clearance are prepared only after the Environment Ministry issues terms of...
Port project gears up for early re-launch
Mar 20 2016
Decks are being cleared for the early re-launch of the controversial $1.4-billion Colombo Port City Project, with the Sri Lankan and Chinese governments inching closer to a resolution of outstanding issues. The proposed visit of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to China during April 6-8 is expected to throw greater clarity on the project. Conceived during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, the project was launched when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Colombo in September 2014. The visit became a major election issue during the campaign for the presidential polls in...
Port City Project To Proceed In Phases
Mar 19 2016
The Port City Project, which was suspended by the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena in March last year, six months after it began construction, has now been given the green light to proceed and will be done in phases, instead of in one go as a mega project. According to the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka, there were legal issues that hampered the progress of the Port City Project, but these issues have now been addressed to a large extent. “The agreement for this project was earlier with the Ports Authority, but under the new agreement...
NCPO orders ‘will cause more conflict’
Mar 19 2016
EXPERTS have warned that the government will be responsible for more serious rights violations, plus economic disparity - and the next political time-bomb - if it continues its use of "special power". Key panellists at an academic conference yesterday on communal rights, the environment and city planning, urged the government to stop using power under Article 44 of the interim charter, as they voiced concern that it would cause a new round of political conflict. The event was arranged by 11 public organisations, plus Rangsit and Thammasat universities. The warning follows the National Council...
Hub coal project will reduce poverty in Pakistan
Mar 19 2016
Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif has said that the Hub coal power project will not only bring prosperity to the country but will also accelerate the pace of development in Balochistan. He was talking with a delegation of the Hub Power Company (Hubco) comprising Chief Executive Khalid Mansoor, New Ventures Senior Vice President Tahir Jawaid, Chairman of the coal project company – China Power Hub Generation Company, Huang Yuntao and CPHGC CEO Zhao Yonggang who met with Federal Minister for Water and Power Khwaja Asif and Secretary Water and Power Younus Dagha on Friday....
NCPO dead wrong in ignoring the EIA process
Mar 18 2016
LAST WEEK Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), issued an order that will result in cutting lengthy development procedures for some state projects so preparations for construction can be controversially carried out parallel to environmental impact assessments (EIA’s). That practice contradicts what is stated in the Environmental Promotion and Protection Act. The preparation for a project before it has received an EIA could proceed with Cabinet endorsement. It appeared Prayut realised the negative implications of the...
SRT proposes seven rail projects
Mar 18 2016
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) will propose seven dual-track railway routes to the cabinet for its approval this month. SRT Governor Wutthichart Kalayanamitr yesterday said the seven double-track rail lines will be submitted to the Transport Ministry before being forwarded to the cabinet. If the submissions are approved, bidding for the seven rail routes will be held. The SRT planned to propose the seven railway projects after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha exercised Section 44 of the interim charter to fast-track them. Under the order, the bidding and the environmental impact...
Revoke Article 44, say NGOs
Mar 18 2016
A MASSIVE coalition of 60 civil society groups have urged the government to refrain from exercising special powers under Article 44 of the interim charter, which recently allowed major development projects to bypass proper Environme-ntal Impact Assessments (EIAs). At yesterday's panel discussion on the issue, non-government organisations (NGOs) also warned that conflicts with affected communities could result in violence. Organised by the Thai Society of Environmental Journalists and 60 civil society organisations, the panel said the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) order No 9/...
Museum expansion slammed
Mar 18 2016
A pre-environmental impact assessment (EIA) inspection of a National Palace Museum expansion project yesterday met with protests from local residents, who said the project poses safety risks and could increase traffic congestion near their neighborhoods because of the flawed design of a parking lot dedicated to tour buses. Taipei Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Liou Ming-lone (劉銘龍) told a meeting in Shilin District (士林) that due to amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (環境影響評估法) putting local governments in charge of overseeing establishments of cultural...
Myanmar races ahead as we back-pedal
Mar 17 2016
All eyes have been on Myanmar this week as it finally voted a new president, Htin Kyaw, into office, in so doing becoming the latest debutante into the democratic club. A close aide (for many he is a proxy) of democracy icon Aug San Suu Kyi, who is blocked from taking up the role due to constitutional hurdles, Htin Kyaw is the first civilian leader of the country since 1962. The new Myanmar government faces high expectations. We know the multi-ethnic country of 60 million, with chronic problems of ethnic tensions, will not turn into a fully fledged democratic society overnight. Yet, I would...