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...
Govt to seek retrial of Klong Dan case
May 17 2016
THE Cabinet resolved yesterday to seek an Administrative Court retrial in the corruption-plagued Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant case, in which the government was ordered to pay Bt9.6-billion compensation to the contractors for cancelling its construction.
The Finance Ministry was assigned by the Cabinet to approach the court again, Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
The government would attempt to prove that the NVPSKG consortium of contractors had distorted facts and been instrumental in the irregularity involving state officials.
This was a new piece of information that would be cited in seeking a retrial, he said.
Yangon rubbish piles up
May 16 2016
Yangon residents are producing more rubbish and there are fewer places to put it, officials warn. According to a two-year survey carried out by the municipality, lifestyle changes are responsible for some of the increase, which has been exacerbated by a rise in population.
Using data collected between November 2015 and February covering 4,666,721 people living in Yangon Region’s 33 townships, it says the city’s 5.21 million people produce 1981 tonnes of garbage a day. Each person disposes of about 0.41 kilograms (0.9 pounds) daily, ranging from 0.43kg in western Yangon to 0.38kg in the northern part of the city.
“In 2012, the average weight of rubbish per person was 0.34kg...
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...
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...
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...
Licence extension linked to gold mine ‘to be based on scientific data
Apr 24 2016
A team from four ministries yesterday visited Chatree gold mine in Phichit to inspect the mine and get information from both opponents and supporters of the gold mine.
The officials were led by Industry Minister Atchaka Sibunruang, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsat-ayadorn, Science Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj, and Pollution Control Department chief Wijarn Simachaya, who represented the Natural Resource and Environment Minister.
Atchaka said the assessment on renewing the metallurgy licence would be finalised prior to the deadline on May 13, when the mine's licence expires, but for now the minister was not able to say if the licence would be renewed or not....
Cabinet considers measures addressing public concerns such as farmer's debt and water management
May 16 2016
The Cabinet has considered had a meeting in which many measures to relieve public hardships, including the solution to farmer’s debt issue and water management were on the agenda. The Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has chaired a Cabinet meeting today which include the consideration of projects to relieve public hardships and agricultural development projects. In the meeting, the Cabinet considered the proposed loans and plans for water management projects, including an water allocation study plan to increase the water at Bhumibol Dam, an environmental impact assessment for a water...
Time to stop poisoning our precious land, resources
May 5 2016
All that glitters is not gold. This old saying can aptly apply to Thailand's gold mining industry or, for that matter, the mining industry in general. The history of mining in Thailand is full of riches for a few, suffering for many and devastation for the natural environment. In the late 1980s, more than 1,000 people in Ron Phibun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat were found to have suffered from arsenic contamination. Years of tin mining had contaminated the surface and underground water in the area for decades. In Mae Moh district, Lampang province, lignite mining and the lignite-fuelled...
Villagers resigned to enduring sickness caused by a lead contaminated creek
May 3 2016
Claiming lack of help from the authorities, the residents of Lower Klity Village in Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum District say they have no choice but to endure chronic sickness. The cause is lead poisoning and they blame a nearby contaminated creek to be the source of their troubles. Here, the village people say, is where the problems start: It was another hot afternoon in Lower Klity Village. Wichai Nasuankanok - a 15-year-old boy who identified himself as nine years old - rushed down to the Klity Creek and jumped into the clear cool water. "Come down and play in the water," Wichai shouted...
A complete waste
May 1 2016
When the Samart Corporation partnered in a lucrative deal to dispose of waste at Suvarnabhumi Airport in 2006, questions were raised as to why a telecommunications company was awarded the contract. The 600 million baht agreement with the Airports of Thailand (AoT) called for the construction of two incinerators to handle all waste generated at the country's biggest airport. Alongkorn Ponlaboot, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, also pointed out irregularities in the contract, which contained overly generous terms such as promising a minimum payment to the Samart-led consortium if...
Potash mine opponents make a stand at hearing
Apr 24 2016
Udon Thani residents Blow whistles during threehour forum, vow to fight in court if project gets go ahead HUNDREDS of local people blew whistles to show their opposition to a potash-mining project throughout a public hearing yesterday. The hearing took place at a school in Udon Thani's Muang district to gather opinions from people who will be affected by the planned potash mine. Given that this project has drawn stiff opposition from locals for more than one decade, 1,200 police and 400 soldiers were mobilised to ensure the forum was able to go ahead. Led by Manee Boonrawd, hundreds of...
Community rights clause not fooling anyone
Apr 6 2016
The right of citizens and communities to protect the environment against harmful development projects is now back in the draft constitution, thanks to fierce pressure by civil society nationwide. So people can relax now, right? Not a chance. Face it. The military regime is in it for the long haul. Their diktats are the ultimate rules of the land. The community rights clause in the draft will be of no help because it has also been heavily diluted, turning active citizens and communities into state vassals. Since the beginning of this year, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has...
Survey Finds Mixed Picture on Disclosure of Environmental Impact Assessments
Apr 4 2016
Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business has published a survey which examines how many Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Initial Environmental Examinations (IEE) have been published. The survey focusses on oil and gas companies in Myanmar who were awarded blocks after 2013. It finds that 11 out of 19 offshore blocks (58%) and 4 out of 15 onshore blocks (26%) have published their IEEs or EIAs on the internet. Although this is less than 50%, the overall level of disclosure in the oil and gas sector is higher than in other sectors in Myanmar such as mining and construction where very...
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...