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...
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...
An Air Purifier for Beijing?
Aug 1 2016
While it is recognized that this tower cannot solve the choking smog of Beijing, it is still quite remarkable (pictured below).
Just 23-foot tall, the Smog Free Tower is the world's first outdoor air cleaner. It operates with a powerful vacuum to suck up pollution into a powerful ionization process and to filter out the dangerous particles and releases purified air. Based upon the Rotterdam tests, the Tower can eliminate 70-80 percent of the impurities in the air from an area the size of a football stadium. The carbon particles extracted from the air will be compressed and sealed in acrylic in the form of rings, cuff links and cubes and then sold with the proceeds intended to be...
196 tonnes of hazardous waste being sent back to Japan
Jul 28 2016
CHON BURI - More than 190 tonnes of hazardous electronic and electrical waste will be sent back to Japan on Friday after being illegally imported through Laem Chabang port of this eastern province last year.
Industry deputy permanent secretary Sakda Pankla inspected the 196.11 tonnes of toxic waste on Thursday. He was accompanied by senior officials from the Department of Industrial Works, the Department of Pollution Control, the Customs Department, and Laem Chabang port and cargo terminal operators.
This huge amount of hazardous garbage was seized following an inspection of containers at Laem Chabang port by customs and industrial works officials on Aug 28 last year, Mr...
Klity offers lessons for us all
Jul 18 2016
The scene is almost deja vu: A group of Karen villagers dressed in traditional costume and their representative lawyers clad in solemn suits hold their hands high in victory. The location is the Supreme Court. Journalists rush to interview them and file reports that read: "Klity villagers win court battle". Again.
These poor Karen villagers, who experienced devastating health problems or lost loved ones from lead poisoning after years of consuming water from a creek contaminated by untreated waste discharges by Kanchanaburi-based mining company Lead Concentrates (Thailand), have twice won a historic lawsuit.
In January 2013, they won a case against the Pollution Control...
Thailand and the Lao PDR have agreed on cross-border pollution management efforts
Jul 14 2016
BANGKOK, 14 July 2016 (NNT) - Thailand and the Lao PDR have agreed on pollution management efforts and ways to cope with cross-border pollution, particularly wildfire smoke.
Director-General of the Pollution Control Department (PCD) Wijarn Simachaya said from May 31 to July 14, the PCD had held a workshop to enhance the work capabilities of the staff of the newly established pollution control department of the Lao PDR. The workshop focused on field operations and shared Thailand’s expertise on dealing with airborne pollution such as smoke from wildfires, hazardous waste management and analyzing chemical samples from laboratories.
He said that Thailand has expressed its...
Formosa to pay US$500mil. compensation for environmental disaster in central Vietnam
Jun 30 2016
Formosa also made five commitments, including $500 million of compensation. It was the official information released at a government press conference in Hanoi this afternoon.
The press conference attracted public attention since it released the long-awaited official causes of mass fish deaths in the central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.
At the press conference, a record of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Limited Company Chairman Chen Yuan Cheng’s apology to Vietnamese people was also released.
In his speech, Chen, on behalf of the company’s 6,300 officials and workers, accepted responsibility and offered an apology to the...
Pollution Control Dept to restore Khli Ti Stream in Kanchanaburi Province after lead contamination
Jun 28 2016
KANCHANABURI, 28 June 2016 (NNT) - The Pollution Control Department is preparing to restore Khli Ti Stream in Kanchanaburi province after lead contamination. The project is expected to take 1,000 days and has a budget of 584 million baht.
Director-General of the Pollution Control Department Wijarn Simachaya said that with a finalized budget of 584 million baht, the department has commenced with the e-bidding process, which will conclude on August 11. After the auction, the winning bidder will be able to begin project operations in the same month.
The project includes the construction of landfills, restoring areas near the mineral processing plant, construct two additional...
Obama signs bipartisan chemical safety bill
Jun 22 2016
WASHINGTON — The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is the first major update to environmental legislation in two decades, overhauling the process for regulating toxic chemicals, allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to ban substances like asbestos, and limiting the secrecy around those chemicals after 10 years,
But that's not the only reason why President Obama chose to sign the bill Wednesday in a public ceremony at the White House: It's also a rare example of bipartisanship from a Congress widely seen as unable to agree on much of anything.
The bill passed the House 403 to 12 and the Senate by voice vote.
"I want the American...
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...
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...