Dato' Hajah Rosnani Receives 2011 AECEN Award
Mar 28 2012
The AECEN 2011 Award for Commitment and Outstanding Service by a Woman was presented to Dato’ Hajah Rosnani binti Ibrahim, former Director General of the Department of Environment, Malaysia. Dr. Monthip Sriratana Tabucanon (Senior Adviser to the Senate, Commission on Natural Resources and Environment, Office of the Parliament, Thailand and 2009 AECEN Award winner), representing the panel of judges, praised Dato’ Hajah Rosnani’s outstanding leadership of Malaysia DOE and her driving force behind many initiatives which are looked upon as inspiring and good example by her peers in the region....
Philippines Replicates New Environmental Compliance Assistance Center
Jan 13 2012
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently established an Environmental Compliance Assistance Center (ECAC) catering to local government units (LGUs) in the country. The center will provide fast and reliable technical assistance to local government authorities and officials for their environment- related concerns. The establishment of the ECAC for LGUs is the agency’s response to improve understanding and strengthen capacity of local agencies both as enforcers of environmental laws and also as operators of regulated establishments. A physical center and...
US EPA Trains Chinese Judges on Environmental Adjudication
Dec 7 2011
On November 8-10, 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with Vermont Law School to conduct a judicial training in Kunming, China in collaboration with the China University of Political Science and Law, the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, and the Humanities College of Southwest University of Forestry located in Kunming. Approximately 30 judges from three provinces (Yunnan, Hainan, and Guizhou) participated in the training. The Kunming pilot training was the latest step in a multi-year effort by EPA and VLS to improve court capacity in China to adjudicate...
Vietnam Prepares Draft Guidelines on Contaminated Soil Monitoring
Dec 2 2011
On November 29-30, 2011, Vietnam hosted a regional consultation meeting in Hanoi joined by counterpart officials from Korea, Malaysia and Thailand to share ideas on a draft technical guideline on contaminated soil monitoring. At the consultation meeting, experts shared lessons learned and recommendations based on implementation challenges and success in their respective countries. As for the next steps, Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will finalized the technical guidelines and explore opportunities to continue their twinning partnership with Korea. For more...
Regional Workshop Explores Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation Into EIA
Oct 28 2011
On October 25-26, 2011 in Bangkok USAID and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) co-organized a workshop on mainstreaming climate change adaptation and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process under the auspices of the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) and the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN). Attended by over 30 professionals from Asia, workshop sessions raised understanding on the implications of climate change in project planning; explored opportunities and constraints in using EIA to enhance climate resilience of projects;...
Thailand and New Zealand to Share Experience on Community Participation in Watershed Restoration
Jun 30 2011
During June 20-24, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Waikato Regional Council of New Zealand hosted an observational program in Waikato for stakeholder representatives from Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and civil society groups from the Tha Chin River Basin to see first-hand community involvement tools and techniques in protecting and restoring waters. The Thai delegation met with representatives from the Waikato Regional Council, Whaingaroa Environment Center, Taupo Lake Care, Landcare group and dairy farmer to discuss citizen participation in...
AECEN Shares Experience at INECE 9th International Conference
Jun 30 2011
During the 9th International Conference of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) held in Whistler, British Columbia on June 20-24, 2011, AECEN members from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as well as the AECEN Secretariat shared best practices and outcomes of twinning partnerships. The INECE conference provided an opportunity for practitioners from different regions to share latest developments and efforts in improving environmental governance worldwide, and identified concrete areas of collaboration between agencies, countries and regions, including...
Supreme Courts of Philippines and Indonesia Share Experience on Environmental Adjudication
Jun 2 2011
On May 25-28, 2011, the Philippine Supreme Court and the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) hosted officials of the Indonesian Supreme Court and other relevant institutions for an observational program in Manila and Pampanga aimed at strengthening judicial capacity and court systems for handling environmental cases in Indonesia. By sharing information and experience, Indonesia plans to establish a certification program for environmental judges and to improve draft guidelines on environmental adjudication. As part of the visit, the Philippines shared information on rules for handling...
Nepal Develops Tools to Streamline Environment Review of Hydropower Projects with Support from Malaysia
May 27 2011
Through a twinning partnership with the Malaysia Department of Environment, the Nepal Ministry of Environment (MOE) expanded efforts to developed new tools to improve and streamline the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process by developing a training program and registration scheme for EIA consultants. At a consultation workshop on May 24, 2011 in Kathmandu, stakeholders from various sectors provided feedback on the consultant registration scheme and training program aimed at improving the quality of EIA reports and ensuring a more efficient review process. Nepal MOE will conduct a...
AECEN Task Force on Environmental Compliance Assistance Centers Meets to Develop Toolkit
May 27 2011
During May 24-27, 2011, the AECEN Environmental Compliance Assistance Center Task Force composed of officials from India, Thailand and the Philippines met in Hong Kong and Bangkok to develop a toolkit on establishing environmental compliance assistance centers. During a meeting in Hong Kong, the Task Force met with officials from the Government of Hong Kong to exchange discussions related to establishment, operation and management of compliance assistance centers. In Bangkok, the Task Force provided guidance and inputs to refine the draft toolkit to promote further replication of the...
'Air pollution' particles linked to Alzheimer's found in human brain
Sep 6 2016
Tiny magnetic particles produced by car engines and brakes can travel into the human brain and may trigger Alzheimer's disease, scientists have warned.
Researchers at Lancaster, Oxford and Manchester Universities discovered microscopic spheres of the mineral magnetite in the brains of 37 people in Manchester and Mexico who had suffered neurodegenerative disease.
The mineral magnetite is known to be toxic and is linked to the production of free radicals which are associated with Alzheimer's Disease.
Although magnetite has previously been found in the brains of people who had died of Alzheimer's disease, it was thought it occurred naturally. However the tiny balls...
Levee builders endeavour to quash deluge of complaints
Sep 3 2016
'We are building a dyke, not a concrete pavement," Pongsakorn Punpanich, an engineer from Macro Consultant Co, said with frustration. He was speaking to the Bangkok Post about a dyke construction project in Bang Kachao, in Samut Prakan's Phra Pradaeng district which serves as "the lung for the city".
Mr Pongsakorn was responding to questions about the project raised by netizens and civic groups who are concerned about the adverse environmental effects the construction project might create.
He said many activists misunderstood what the project was about and believed it would be a concrete structure along the Chao Phraya River. The project is actually a dyke to prevent water...
Mounting pile of garbage polluting Koh Larn
Sep 1 2016
CHON BURI -- Residents of Koh Larn have complained that the problem of disposing of mounting piles of garbage on the popular tourist island off Pattaya is becoming worse, with about 10,000 tonnes of accumulated waste and rubbish already disfiguring the island.
The tiny resort island has a resident population of about 4,000, according to official domicile registration records.
However, there are another 4,000-8,000 people from elsewhere, including migrant workers, also living on the island.
The bigger population and a constant increase in number of hotels, resorts, homestays, restaurants and shops, as well as the large number of daily visitors, has compounded the...
Community opposes new PTT gas pipeline in Rayong
Aug 30 2016
RAYONG -- Residents of Nong Faeb in tambon Map Ta Phut have put up banners and signboards showing their opposition to PTT Plc's plan to lay a 5th natural gas pipeline through their community.
They argue that PTT's plan routes the 5th natural gas pipeline through the heart of Nong Faeb community, near schools, a temple and along a railroad parallel with the existing 4th pipeline.
One angry resident, who asked not to be named, said the pipeline was planned in conjunction with the construction of a sea port, gas storage facilities and factories near the community. For residents it would be like living in the middle of a cluster of live bombs, he said.
"We are already...
The Fallout From Vietnam's Mass Fish Deaths Continues
Aug 27 2016
The mystery of Vietnam’s mass fish deaths was officially solved two months ago when Formosa Ha Tinh Steel (FHS) was found to be behind the discharge of toxins into the ocean on the country’s central coast. However, the saga continues to play out on various fronts.
It was hoped that the one positive that might come out of the whole sorry tale was better environmental stewardship from corporations and authorities. Yet it surfaced in mid July, not two weeks after FHS was slapped with the massive fine, that one of its business units was under investigation for burying waste on a farm in Ha Tinh province.
And to really round out the tale, the 100-ton waste was found buried on...
Ecological consequences of amphetamine pollution in urban streams
Aug 25 2016
(Millbrook, NY) Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are present in streams in Baltimore, Maryland. At some sites, amphetamine concentrations are high enough to alter the base of the aquatic food web. So reports a new study released today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which is one of the first to explore the ecological consequences of stimulant pollution in urban streams.
Lead author Sylvia S. Lee conducted the work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Lee, now with the Environmental Protection Agency, comments, "Around the world, treated and untreated wastewater entering surface waters contains pharmaceuticals and illicit...
Air pollution threat hidden as research 'presumes people are at home': study
Aug 24 2016
The true impact of air pollution has been obscured by the failure to consider people’s exposure as they move around during the day, according to a new study that has mapped the hotspots of New York’s air pollution based on where people gather for work or recreation.
The research cites air pollution as “the world’s single largest environment and human health threat” but laments that the problem has not previously been “considered spatially and temporally”, with most studies basing a person’s pollution exposure on where they live.
Using information obtained from cellphone towers, the researchers were able to build up a picture of millions of New Yorkers’ movements over the...
Coca-Cola's second largest bottling plant in India has been shut down
Aug 18 2016
The bottling plant in Hapur has been under scrutiny by the National Green Tribunal India's ‘Green Court ‘ since 2015, and a number of inspections by government regulators have found the plant to be flouting environmental laws in India, and also operating without valid licenses, or No Objection Certificate (NOC).
Coca-Cola has had ample time to rectify the pollution violations, and the company had prior notice before inspections. Yet, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India's top environmental regulatory agency, and the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the state's primary...
Coal Burning Causes the Most Air Pollution Deaths in China, Study Finds
Aug 17 2016
BEIJING — Burning coal has the worst health impact of any source of air pollution in China and caused 366,000 premature deaths in 2013, Chinese and American researchers said on Thursday.
Coal is responsible for about 40 percent of the deadly fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 in China’s atmosphere, according to a study the researchers released in Beijing.
Those figures are consistent with what Chinese scientists have been saying in recent years about industrial coal burning and its relation to air pollution.
The study, which was peer-reviewed, grew out of a collaboration between Tsinghua University in Beijing, one of China’s top research universities, and the...
Explosion at Coal-Fired Plant in Central China Kills at Least 21
Aug 11 2016
BEIJING — At least 21 people were killed and five injured by an explosion at a coal-fired power plant in central China on Thursday, according to official reports.
The deaths and injuries occurred when a high-pressure steam pipe exploded at a plant in the city of Dangyang in Hubei Province, according to a news website run by the provincial government.
The plant is owned by the Madian Gangue Power Generation Company, the website said. The company generates thermal power and sells slag, ash and petroleum products.
A man who answered the telephone at the Dangyang government’s propaganda office, who identified himself as Mr. Chen, said that an investigation was underway...
Mesco closes in on gold licence
Aug 9 2016
After an unexpectedly lengthy review, the Ministry of Environment has approved the environmental and social impact study of Indian mining firm Mesco Gold, clearing the last major hurdle for the company to receive a licence to operate the Kingdom’s first royalty-generating mine. “The Ministry of Environment has given its approval for underground mining over a 12 square kilometre area,” Rajeev Moudgil, director of Mesco Gold (Cambodia) Ltd, said yesterday. The ministry’s nod comes after officials spent 18 months poring over the company’s environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), a...
Weak adherence to environment law leads to licensing of polluting projects
Aug 8 2016
The requirement on environmental impact assessment was first set in the 2005 Environment Protection Law and the 1998 Water Resource Law. Later, the Water Resource Law was amended with many new provisions and standards, taking effect in January 2013. In principle, when laws are amended, reports on environmental impact assessment must be made again, while old reports must not be used. Vu Ngoc Long, head of the Southern Institute of Ecology, when talking about the Lee & Man pulp paper project, said that the big problem can be seen in the location of the plant. “Since the plant is projected...
White House CEQ Finalizes Guidance for Assessing Climate Impacts in Federal Actions Subject to NEPA
Aug 4 2016
On August 2, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act Reviews. The Final Guidance is intended to provide direction on how federal agencies should address the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change as those agencies satisfy their duties under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or an Environmental Assessment (EA) and when...
Rail line across Thailand runs into resistance
Aug 3 2016
Work on a railway line that would link the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea has hit a hurdle after opposition by residents in southern Thailand. The National Environment Board on Monday rejected a proposal on the project after locals complained it had been drawn up without their involvement, as required under the law. Its environmental impact assessment "was conducted without people's participation", local and environmental activist Wichoksak Ronnarongpairee told The Straits Times. As a result, the board suspended it pending further consultations with the local community. Dr Kasemsan...
Gov Pushes BKK to Finalize Light Rail Project
Aug 1 2016
PHUKET: Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada is fed up. After years of talking and planning a province-wide light rail project, Governor Chamroen is ready for officials to put up or shut up. The governor has called on the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) in Bangkok to sort things out in his office next week or dismiss the project entirely. “The study plan started back when I was a vice governor,” the governor said during a Phuket Provincial Hall meeting with OTP representatives last Monday. “Now, I’m the governor and it’s still not done. So that’s it. I’ve had...
Songkhla, Satun locals urge rail halt
Jul 22 2016
About 20 residents from southern communities affected by the planned Songkhla-Satun Land Bridge Project handed a petition Thursday to the National Environment Board (NEB) asking it suspend its consideration of a rail freight transport project, a part of the proposed Land Bridge scheme. Somboon Khamheng, a coordinator of the People's Network for Natural Resources and Environment Protection in Songkhla and Satun, who led the residents, said they oppose the cargo railway transport project linking the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea because it was initiated without any local consultation or...
University study excluded public participation
Jul 18 2016
They complained that a study team from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lat Krabang (KMITL) had conducted an improper public hearing on the project. People from local communities and academics denounced the KMITL study team, saying that people's right to decide on the project had been violated. They said the study team had set up a public hearing without providing essential information on the project and also claimed to have support of riverside communities, which were yet to approve the project. River Assembly, a newly formed group of 42 organisations, arranged a boat tour to reveal...
Building an Effective EIA Process for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations
Jul 17 2016
MCRB convened a meeting between government, offshore oil and gas companies and others on July 11 in Naypyidaw to discuss lessons learned from the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) / Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process and to look ahead to future offshore activity including the drilling of exploration wells in the 2016/2017 season. The multistakeholder meeting followed on from an earlier meeting held in August 2014 on the lessons learned from IEE/EIAs for oil and gas companies in Myanmar. In view of the significant planned investment in offshore oil and gas, companies are keen...
SEZs under scrutiny
Jun 28 2016
Of the long list of challenges inherited by the new government when it took office in April, among the most expensive and ambitious are the special economic zones planned for Yangon and on each side of the country, on the Indian Ocean. Conceived when Myanmar was still under military rule, the three multi-million-dollar SEZs – at Thilawa in Yangon Region, Dawei in Tanintharyi Region and Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State – have faced accusations of land grabbing and a disregard for transparency. The government is reviewing plans for the SEZs, U Hanthar Myint, a member of the National League for...
Thailand reaffirms Dawei plans, but does Myanmar?
Jun 25 2016
“The governments of Thailand and Myanmar reaffirmed that the Dawei megaproject will create thousands of jobs and improve the livelihoods of people along the border,” according to Thailand’s caretaker Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha. Prayuth was speaking at a joint press conference in Bangkok on Friday. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi also addressed reporters, but made no mention of her administration’s commitment to the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) or other mutual business or trade interests. The pair also declined to take questions after the press briefing. Perhaps Suu Kyi’s...