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...
AECEN support Indonesia efforts to prepare new guidelines on public participation and the environment
Jul 20 2012
On July 10-11, 2012, the Indonesia Ministry of Environment (MOE) conducted a workshop on Strengthening Public Participation on Environmental Management in Indonesia. Co-organized with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), about 100 participants from government agencies, NGOs, academia and the private sector shared ideas on the Public Participation Guide developed by USEPA and the application of public participation principles in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. In addition to technical input from USEPA, resource persons from Malaysia, Thailand and the...
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...
Court halts Ratchadamri condo project
Jan 9 2017
The Central Administrative Court has suspended a construction licence given to a high-end residence project on Ratchadamri Road, saying the Office of the Privy Purse does not have authority to endorse the licence request. Srisuwan Janya, president of the Stop Global Warming Association who filed a petition to the court, said the court ruled in favour of his request. He argued the licence for the Makadlekluang II Residence in Pathumwan district was obtained illegally. The court said the Office of the Privy Purse is not a corporation, but is only a "unit" under the Bureau of the Royal Household...
Phetchabun national park road proposal put on hold
Dec 29 2016
THE NATIONAL Environment Board has resolved against the Highways Department’s proposal to expand roads in Phetchabun province’s Nam Nao National Park, saying the proposal should be reviewed and other feasible options considered. Phetchabun national park road proposal put on hold The board, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, considered the proposal in which the department aimed to expand the road cutting through 40 kilometres of the national park. The No 12 road is part of a regional route linking Tak’s Mae Sot on the Myanmar border in the West to the edge of the Northeast...
Bangkok and a problem of architecture
Sep 19 2016
A few weeks ago, Thais gaped in awe at MahaNakhon, that new ultramodern high-rise on bustling Sathon. Now our collective attention is being diverted to Wiman Phra-in, or Abode of Indra, a much-talked about architectural design intended as a landmark in the Chao Phraya riverside promenade project. The name suggests a feature with a pointed spiral structure that offers nothing less than paradise. Unfortunately, the debate is not about the purity of the design. It's more about allegations of shameful plagiarism of those involved in the project. The issue drew public attention after celebrity...
Land-rights dispute delays Chao Phraya study
Sep 10 2016
Members of community say they have deeds to land earmarked for promenade as opponents to plane threaten court action. WITH LESS than one month until deadline, model schemes for the first 12 kilometres of the Chao Phraya for All riverside promenade project have yet to be finalised due to a land-rights identification problem at Wat Dhevaraj Kunchon Community, the study team said yesterday. Meanwhile, the study was attacked by an opposition group for lacking essential information and failing to list alternative choices for the development. They warned that they may file a complaint to the...
Communities deeply divided over southern power plant plans
Sep 10 2016
PINK and green flags flying outside homes in the peaceful Tambon Pak Bang fishing village in Songkhla’s Thepa district may be merely insignificant decorations to the outsider. But to residents of the quiet community they represent a clear division over plans for a major coal-fired power plant on their doorstep. Local communities in the South are clearly divided over plans by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to locate coal-fired power projects in Thepa district and Krabi's Nuea Khlong district. When The Nation visited Tambon Pak Bang, where a 2,200-megawatt power plant...
Activists fume over plan to use Article 44 for dam
Sep 4 2016
ENVIRONMENTAL groups have strongly opposed a plan by the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to seek invocation of special powers under Article 44 of the post-coup interim charter to commence construction of the controversial Mae Wong dam in Nakhon Sawan province. In a statement released by the 19 organisations yesterday, they said Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya wanted to implement a project that was against the government's reforestation campaign. They also said the project was not in line with the water management plan suggested by the Seub Nakhasathien...
Residents claim potash mines causing problems
Sep 1 2016
TRANSPARENCY and strict environmental regulations are needed to avoid problems between local communities and potash mines, an academic said recently. Rungreung Lertsirivorakul, a geologist at Khon Kaen University, said mining companies should make their operation plans clear to the public to avoid problems, adding that suspicious and hidden strategies would only give rise to conflicts. This year Thailand granted concessions for the country's first potash mining operations to the mining companies Thai Kali in Nakhon Ratchasima's Dan Khun Thot district and Asean Potash in Chaiyaphum's Bamnet...
AoT commits to expanding Suvarnabhumi
Aug 27 2016
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) has signed three contracts worth 14.9 billion baht to expand Suvarnabhumi airport as the government gears up efforts to turn Thailand into the region's aviation hub. The first contract worth 12 billion baht involves Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), hired to construct a concourse, parking bays and a tunnel in the airport's southern area. The second contract at a cost of 1.98 billion baht concerns SG and Interlink Consortium, employed to set up the utility system. Another deal worth 879.9 million baht involves SCS Consortium, which was hired to oversee the...
Egat insists on going ahead with Thepa plant
Aug 25 2016
CONSTRUCTION of the Thepa coal-fired power plant is set to begin in the second quarter of next year, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said, even though many locals have refused to sell their land despite facing threats. Egat has so far insisted that it will build the 2,200-megawatt power plant in Songkhla's Thepa district, despite strong protests from local people. The Environment and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) for both the plant and coal transport has also not been approved by the Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning Office (ONEP). Ratanachai...
Council on Environmental Quality finalises guidance for assessing climate impact
Aug 22 2016
On August 2 2016 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 when preparing an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment when considering the use...