THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE NEWS
Wednesday, 1 December 2004
UNEP and the Executive Director in the News ? Scoop Media News - Parties Move To Protect World’s Vital Ozone Layer ? The Hindu - Asbestos: Housed in controversies ? BBC - Africa 'makes excuses on climate' ? M2 Presswire - Save The World Air Invited to United Nations Environmental Forum;
? ANSA - GLOBAL WARMING MAY SEE OLIVE HARVESTS IN
Other Environment-related News
? IPS - Business and Biodiversity - Risk of 'Greenwash'?
? Dawn News - Oil spill caused colossal loss: report
? The East African - Authority Wants Leaded Oils Phased Out
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions
Other UN News
• UN Daily News of 30 November 2004
• S.G.’s Spokesman Daily Press Briefing of 30 November 2004
Communications and Public Information, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623292/93, Fax: [254-2] 62 3927/623692, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org
Scoop Media News
Parties Move To Protect World’s Vital Ozone Layer
Parties To UN-Backed Treaty Take Further Steps To Protect World’s Vital Ozone Layer
In a further effort to protect the world’s ozone layer, which filters out ultraviolet solar rays that cause skin cancer
and other ills, parties to a United Nations-sponsored environmental treaty have agreed to carry out a survey on the
use of a key ozone-damaging pesticide in food shipments.
The quantities of methyl bromide used by farmers for fumigating soils is well known, but the precise levels used to
treat shipments of big commodity crops such as rice and maize and consignments in wooden pallets is unclear.
The survey is aimed at resolving these uncertainties and may be a first step towards controlling the levels of methyl
bromide used in quarantine and pre-shipment. It will be carried out by scientific and technical experts to the
Montreal Protocol, the 17- year-old international agreement set up under the auspices of the UN Environment
Programme (UNEP) to protect the ozone layer from chemical attack.
Experts estimate that in 2002 the quantities in such use were around 11,000 tons, growing to 18,000 tons in 2004,
but it is thought the levels are an underestimate since not all countries are supplying full and accurate figures.
The survey was among several key decisions made at the 16th meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
which ended at the weekend in Prague, Czech Republic.
These included requests for so called ―critical use exemptions‖ for methyl bromide for farmers in the developed
world, including Australia, Europe and the United States, who claim that the current alternatives in some places
and for certain crops, such as strawberries and tomatoes, are not sufficiently effective.
Under an agreement made in the mid-1990s, the chemical is scheduled for a full phase out in developed world
agriculture next year. In 1991 consumption of methyl bromide was around 63,800 tons.
The Parties in Prague agreed to exemptions totalling just over 2,600 tons for 2005 in addition to just over 12,150
tons agreed to at a special meeting in March this year. Based on recommendations by the scientific and technical
panels to the Protocol, it was agreed to grant developed world farmers a total of just over 11,700 tons-worth of
exemptions in 2006.
―The Montreal Protocol is without doubt one of the most successful, global, environment treaties and has been
strengthened by the political commitment show here in Prague,‖ said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP,
which hosts the Ozone Secretariat at its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. ―Indeed, I was pleased to note that throughout our discussions all Governments stated clearly that they had every intention to phase out methyl
bromide and that these critical use exemptions are temporary measures.‖
Copyright (c) Scoop Media
The Business Line
Asbestos: Housed in controversies
How safe is white asbestos?
ARE chrysotile asbestos (or white asbestos) products hazardous to health? The Chrysotile Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (CACPMA) asserts that they are not. Mr Arun Saraf, Chairman of CACPMA, has been quoted in The Hindu Business Line (September 24, 2004) as saying: "White asbestos is a naturally-
occurring mineral with no harmful effect when used in a controlled manner. Asbestos-related diseases are associated with crocidolite or blue asbestos and other amphiboles. It is not used in India, since its import was banned in 1994."
The Association cites a World Health Organisation (WHO) report which says that the "exclusive use of chrysotile (white) fibre in the manufacture of asbestos cement products is not associated with any excess of lung cancer" —
but is discreetly silent on the call by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for global trade restrictions on the sale of all forms of asbestos. The Association has, further, made any debate on the subject difficult by implying that anyone who expresses doubts about the safety of white asbestos automatically becomes an agent of certain "vested interests" — meaning steel makers!
Activists, however, maintain that they are hazardous. A report by Ms Bindu Shajan Perappadan published in The
Hindu (June 3, 2004), says: "Though it is prohibited in 36 countries, India continues to keep at bay a ban on white
asbestos, directly resulting in daily exposures of nearly nine lakh construction workers to serious health hazards." "And though there are reams of paperwork on the matter, the use of white asbestos in India continues, while there is a ban on blue and brown asbestos."
"White asbestos is used mainly for water pipes or as roofing sheets in construction industry. Asbestos dust can be inhaled while drilling, cutting a pipe, repairing, renovating or demolishing a building and its effects are far-reaching, affecting everyone from the person mining it to the ultimate consumer. Clinical reports show that asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer can show up even 25 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos." The report goes on to quote the environmentalist, Mr Gopal Krishnan of Toxic Links, as saying that although the government is aware of the health hazards associated with white asbestos, "Indian government representatives surprisingly objected to the extension of prior-informed consent to cover white asbestos as a material subject to trade control at the Rotterdam Prior Informed Consent Convention in Geneva in November, 2003." As for the Indian government, its stance on the issue is predictably confused.
It may be recalled that Mr Suresh Ramrao Jadhav, Member of Parliament, had raised the question in Parliament in May 2002, as to "whether the government proposes to shut down asbestos sheets manufacturing units in India as it can cause lung cancer to the workers exposed to it" upon which Dr Raman Singh, the then Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, had answered: "There is no conclusive scientific evidence on harmful effects of asbestos. The units manufacturing asbestos have to follow BIS prescribed safety norms to protect workers against harmful effects of asbestos. Therefore, it is not desirable to ban production of these sheets." Fair enough. But, on August 18, 2003, the then Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Ms Sushma Swaraj, made the following statement in the Rajya Sabha: "Studies by the National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad, have shown that long-term exposure to any type of asbestos can lead to the development of asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma." And, then again, following the receipt of reports linking the incidence of cancer to the inhalation of asbestos, the Union Environment Ministry had appointed a 12-member committee, headed by the former Joint Secretary, Mr V. Rajgopalan, and currently the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) chairperson, to look into the hazardous effects of asbestos. Nothing is known about the findings, if any, of this committee.
Given the diversity and incompatibility of views on the subject, a look at we know for certain about white asbestos: We know that chrysotile or white asbestos is the dominant form of asbestos in international commerce today. It accounts for about 99 per cent of current world asbestos production.
It is known that a large number of scientists the world over agree that chrysotile is an extremely hazardous material. According to them, clinical and epidemiologic studies have established incontrovertibly that chrysotile causes cancer of the lung, malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum, cancer of the larynx and certain gastrointestinal cancers. Further, they say that chrysotile causes asbestosis, a progressive fibrous disease of the lungs. The risk of these diseases increases with cumulative lifetime exposure to chrysotile and rises also with increasing time interval (latency) since first exposure. These scientists dispute the claim that chrysotile asbestos can be used `safely' under "certain conditions." This claim, they say, is simply not accurate.
Comparative analyses have apparently established that chrysotile is two-four times less potent than crocidolite asbestos in its ability to cause malignant mesothelioma — but of equal potency of causation of lung cancer. In fact,
the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the WHO has declared chrysotile asbestos a proven human
We know that the sale of chrysotile asbestos has virtually ended in Western Europe and North America because of
their recognition of its health hazards. However, asbestos sales remain strong in Japan, across Asia and in
developing nations worldwide.
Collegium Ramazzini, an international society globally recognised as an authority on environmental and
occupational medicine, has called for an immediate worldwide ban on all sales and uses of all forms of asbestos,
including chrysotile. The rationale for this ban is threefold:
Finally, alternatives to chrysotile are available in PVC and sheet metal to replace asbestos cement. Substitution of
asbestos involves the use of other fibres in the place of chrysotile. The major asbestos-cement product categories
worldwide are profiled sheet, flat sheet, and building board, slates, pressure pipes, and moulded goods. Most
commonly, PVA and cellulose are used as substitutes, particularly for sheet and slates. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN)
substitute fibres do not seem to constitute a promising substitute for pressure pipes because of strength
requirements, but alternative materials can be used — unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, for instance.
Prudence dictates that when there is disagreement on the safety of a product or a product category, it should be
banned or rigorously regulated by the government till the disagreement is resolved. It is intriguing that the United
Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, which claims to represent the interests of the common man, has chosen
not to exercise prudence with regard to the production and use of white asbestos products in India.
Africa 'makes excuses on climate'
By Alex Kirby
BBC News website environment correspondent, in Nairobi
Wangari Maathai, who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, says African
governments should do more about climate change. Professor Maathai, also Kenya's deputy environment minister, was speaking
to African journalists at the United Nations Environment Programme HQ
She said climate change mattered, and the Kyoto Protocol on how to limit its
effects must be taken seriously by all.
Professor Maathai, an environmental and human rights campaigner, will
Professor Maathai says Africa's receive the peace prize in Norway in December.
women "carry a heavy burden" She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted 20-30
million trees in Africa to counter forest loss and slow the spread of the deserts.
Challenge to backsliders
Mrs Maathai told the journalists, attending a climate workshop organised by Unep's GRID-Arendal office: "There's
no reason why our African governments can't control greenhouse emissions,
but quite often we make excuses. We see our children
dying in the fields, we see the "We say, for example, we're poor and so we can't impose taxes. But should
we be taxing people trying to earn a living? future slipping away
"When we act, we challenge those who are not doing as much as we think Wangari Maathai they should. I'm trying to educate the Kenyan government, and sometimes I
have to do it loudly."
She criticised the way in which firewood and charcoal cost people less than electricity. "In the long term", she said, "using wood will cost us more. It's a very expensive resource.
"The tree is an empowering symbol: when you've planted one, something happens to the environment. It's not the
only solution, but it's something most of us can do.
Trees for remembrance
"Anyone can dig a hole. And one tree multiplied several million times gives you a forest." Professor Maathai said many Africans did not understand the problem of
climate change. We women in Africa
carry the burden of poverty "We need to explain it to them in simple terms and to give them simple
solutions," she said. "When a baby is born, or when someone dies, plant a and conflict tree."
Wangari Maathai Winning the prize had made "a lot of people open their eyes. Many
wondered why a highly educated person would spend their time digging holes and planting trees. "But this is a matter of life and death, and the Nobel committee has made a wonderful decision." Mrs Maathai lamented the decline of traditional knowledge and the neglect of African species. Forgotten familiars
She said: "Much of our knowledge and experience is not in books but in our cultures, and that's why I'm concerned
about their loss.
"We import seeds, not from this environment but for instance maize from
the Americas. Every year we're dealing with a new hybrid.
"I don't know how far we'll go till we rediscover the sorghums and millets
and pumpkins that are indigenous to Africa."
And she was far from convinced that African men were leading the
Professor Maathai said: "We women in Africa carry the burden of poverty
and conflict. We see our children dying in the fields, we see the future Trees can galvanise people, slipping away. Maathai says "I've been calling on Africa's leaders, who are mostly men, to make sure resources are exploited for the people's
benefit, to help them out of poverty, ignorance and disease.
"We've been waiting for men to change. We women have an important role in challenging them to be responsible
to us and to our children - to stop sending them off to die on the front lines."
November 30, 2004, Tuesday 1:06 PM Eastern Time
HEADLINE: Save The World Air Invited to United Nations Environmental Forum;
Erin Brockovich to Address Inter-Governmental Meeting in Bali, Indonesia
DATELINE: LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30
Save The World Air, Inc., (OTC: ZERO) today announced that the company has been invited to participate in a
conference of high-level government officials and environmental experts organized by the United Nations
Environmental Programme (UNEP).
Erin Brockovich, SWA's Vice President for Environmental Affairs, will address the conference and participate
as a delegate. The invitation was extended by the UNEP and the government of Indonesia.
The "Inter-Governmental Working Meeting on a Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building" will be held in Bali, Indonesia on December 2-4. Representatives of more than 100 nations are expected to attend. The meeting will focus the United Nations' efforts for technological support and capacity building for environmental initiatives in developing nations.
"We are honored that SWA has been invited by the United Nations and the Indonesian government to participate in this conference," said Edward Masry, SWA's Chief Executive Officer. "Save The World Air may be a for-profit company, but we share a common goal with The United Nations Environmental Programme: to develop new technology that will help developing nations reduce their pollution problems. Hopefully, we can take steps at this event to make that dream become a reality."
Save The World Air, Inc., was created to develop devices using proprietary technologies that can be installed on motor vehicles to reduce harmful emissions, improve fuel efficiency, and/or improve performance.
Finalized tests conducted in September at a Hong Kong laboratory approved by Britain's Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) found that the CAT-MATE pollution-reduction device developed by SWA cut carbon monoxide emissions from a two-stroke motorcycle engine by an average 78%.
Safe Harbor Statement
The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward looking statements, including, but not limited to, SWA's ability to market its technologies and devices and future customer acceptance for these products and services and other risks set forth in SWA's filings and future filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those set forth in SWA's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003.
SOURCE Save The World Air, Inc.
CONTACT: Jason Booth of Sitrick And Company, +1-310-788-2850, for Save The World Air, Inc.
LOAD-DATE: November 30, 2004
ANSA English Media Service November 30, 2004
November 30, 2004
HEADLINE: GLOBAL WARMING MAY SEE OLIVE HARVESTS IN GERMANY
(ANSA) - Rome, November 30 - The Mediterranean is becoming increasingly more like the Red Sea while global warming may one day lead to harvests of olives as far north as Germany, an Italian climatologist warned today.
Vincenzo Ferrara of the Alternative Energy and Environment Agency ENEA stressed in a report that there were a "a series of slow but obvious signs" of the threats posed by global warming.
He noted that last year some areas of the Mediterranean saw record temperatures of 30 to 31 degrees centigrade, nearly matching those in the Red Sea. Particularly high temperatures were recorded in the southern Ionian sea, the Gulf of Gades - east of Tunisia and south of the island of Lampedusa - and off the coast of Cyprus.
"Records also indicate that there has been a 14% drop in the number of rainy days but that rain is more abundant when it does fall."
He stressed that dry periods are becoming increasingly more frequent in the north during the winter and that periods of drought were stretching out in the southern regions during the summer.
"The results are noticeable changes in the ecosystem.Perhaps one day we'll see vines and olive trees growing in Germany," he added.
Other clear signs of the changes being wreaked by the milder climate are the dropping snow levels on the Appenines and the disappearance of typical Alpine flora like the edelweiss, he said.
Fabiano Bulgarini, who heads the Mediterranean studies chapter at the World Wide Fund for Nature, noted that there has been a distinct change in bird migration and nesting habits.
"In Italy, many species are now arriving earlier and leaving later for their winter migration while many flowers bloom six to 11 days ahead of time."
Damiano Di Simine, the President of CIPRA, the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps, told a Milan conference last year that global warming was taking its toll on the Alps.
"The Alps are in an area of the world in which climate change is more accentuated," he said. "The general rise in temperature levels is about 0.6-0.7 degrees, in the Alps the order of change is plus 1.5, with measurable affects on the retreat of glaciers."
A 4.0 Celsius (8.0 F) rise in temperature would eliminate nearly all of the world's glaciers by the end of the century, the Worldwide Fund for Nature said in a recent report.
Another report by CIPRA noted that palm trees were now surviving on both the southern and northern slopes of the Alps thanks to the milder winters.
It noted that "these palm trees were introduced from Asia during the 1950s and initially survived only on the southern slopes and at an altitude no higher than 800m." But recent studies, CIPRA said, have shown that the Japanese palm has adapted so well to the Alpine environment "that they are now spreading on their own even in forests,where only a particularly harsh winter can stop them."
There are even some areas on the southern slopes, near the lakes between Italy and Switzerland, where the Japanese palms are pushing out the native trees, it said.
Researchers say that global warming is raising the sea-level in the Mediterranean by 1.3 mm each year.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the world is now about 0.7 degree centigrade warmer than it was 150 years ago with wide geographical variations.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has estimated that global temperatures could rise by between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade by 2100.
LOAD-DATE: November 30, 2004
Business and Biodiversity - Risk of 'Greenwash'?
by Sonny Inbaraj
BANGKOK -- To skeptics, the partnership between multinational corporations and environmental groups is the business of selling 'feel-good conservation' to prop up a company's sagging public image.
But to some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engagement with business and the development of strategic alliances really does matter, if one is serious about saving planet Earth.
According to them, big money helps pay for a better world -- where biodiversity can be protected. These two divergent points of view were brought up at a heated session on business and biodiversity at the recently concluded World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, organized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
''One of the challenges from an NGO perspective in working with companies and businesses in general is to create a win-win situation,'' said André Guimaraes, executive director of the Brazil-based Instituto BioAtlântica, an NGO working to conserve and protect the fast disappearing Atlantic forest there.
Two hundred years ago the forest covered the entire Atlantic coastline of Brazil and has been deemed one of the biologically richest systems in the world, home to 20 primate species found nowhere else on the planet. Some 360 private reserves can be found in the Atlantic Forest, known in Portuguese as the Mata Atlântica, which since 1500 has lost 93 percent of its total area, and is now reduced to small ''islands'' of green amidst ever-expanding urbanization.
''My mission is to conserve the Atlantic Forest and the mission of companies is to produce profits and maximize benefits for their shareholders... Our challenge as an NGO is to show them (corporations) in their language what benefits they could get out of conserving biodiversity,'' Guimaraes told delegates gathered at the IUCN congress. The World Conservation Congress, billed as the world's largest environmental conference, Nov. 17-25, brought together representatives from 81 states, 114 government agencies, more than 800 NGOs and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries.
The final declaration of the congress called on the world's governments to meet the goal of halting the loss of global biodiversity by 2010. Species loss is occurring at an unprecedented pace, and nearly 16,000 types of plants and animals are on the brink of extinction.
The Mata Atlantica is disappearing two and a half times faster than the Amazon, the worst case of deforestation in the world, with the exception of Madagascar.
''We have 70 percent of the Brazilian population living within the Atlantic Forest and it is the source of 80 percent of Brazil's gross domestic product. And 90 percent of this area is private -- there are farms, corporations and business groups there,'' Guimaraes said.
''So it's a must do. We have to work with the private sector, otherwise we are not going to do any conservation at all.''
But these ties do not come without controversy. Critics in the conservation community have voiced their concern especially when there is a parallel growth in the budgets of NGOs and the proliferation of their green logos alongside those of multinational corporations.
''The huge risk in this is what I call 'greenwash', whereby companies clean up their image but hardly change their practice,'' Marcus Colchester, director of the Britain-based Forest Peoples Program, told Tierramérica. ''I think conservation organizations risk paying too high a price for petty gains if it means them losing the trust of the public and their members,'' he added.
A case in point is the mining giant Rio Tinto forming partnerships with large conservation groups like the Britain-based Birdlife International.
The largest mining company in the world, Rio Tinto has headquarters both in Australia and Britain and operations on all continents except Antarctica.
For years, Rio Tinto has had a reputation for being responsible for environmental and human rights violations at its mines and smelters.
Accusations of corporate misdeeds include suppressing trade unions at their Australian operations, exposing workers to radiation in a uranium mine in Namibia, and negligence and complicity in the civil war in Papua New Guinea, where Conzinc Riotinto -- a Rio Tinto subsidiary -- used to operate a major copper mine.
Explaining Rio Tinto's partnerships with conservation groups, the company's environmental policy advisor Stuart Anstee said: '' We see these partnerships as a fundamental way in meeting our biodiversity goals on site.'' However, Birdlife International's project manager, Jonathan Stacey, admitted that NGOs were putting themselves in a vulnerable position when they receive money from corporations, but he defended Birdlife's cooperation with Rio Tinto.
''It's how that money is used, how it's targeted and how it's delivered on the ground. As long as it stays with Birdlife's key objectives, there is a strong foundation for cooperation,'' Stacey told the IUCN delegates. Added Leon Bennun, Birdlife's policy director: ''There seems to be a misconception. We are talking about partnerships and not sponsorships.''
''We are not using money from corporate bodies to finance our programs. We are working with them to help them do a better job in looking after the environment -- so conservation gains that way.''
Nonetheless, Sachin Kapila, Shell's group biodiversity advisor, was frank on how the multinational's board and shareholders tried to understand biodiversity issues.
''Looking at the sector we are in, energy provision, there's clearly an understanding that we have an impact on the surrounding environment,'' he said.
''But there's not necessarily an understanding at all levels of the organization as to what to do about that. And I think trying to use the term biodiversity causes an awful lot of problems for us,'' said Kapila. Last year, Shell, alongside British Petroleum and other transnationals announced during the Fifth World Parks Congress, in South Africa, that they would not explore or exploit any of the areas listed as global natural heritage sites.
Originally published Nov. 27 by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialized news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Environment Program
____________________________________________________________________________________________ Dawn News
Oil spill caused colossal loss: report
By Khawar Ghumman
ISLAMABAD, Nov 30: The Federal Environment Ministry released on Tuesday a report on the oil spill caused by Tasman Spirit off the Karachi coast last year, suggesting a serious damage to all components of the ecosystem , besides affecting a coastal population of 305,000.
The report - Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) - is prepared by the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Environment with the support of the United Nations Development Programme to determine the extent and severity of ecological harm caused by the oil spill in July 2003. The study is completed with the assistance of international and national experts.
Tasman Spirit was carrying 67,535 tons of light crude oil for delivery to the Pakistan Refinery Limited in Karachi. As a result of the spill, around 31,000 tons of oil was leaked into the surrounding waters.
The report supported earlier estimates that the environmental, social, and economic damage from the oil spill was serious and extensive. Studies revealed that a marine area of approximately 2,062 sq-km was contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons.
The seabed sediments in an area of 270 sq-km were found to be affected by oil that was analytically fingerprinted to Tasman Spirit, while the area of marine waters swiped by oil spill was estimated to be more than 2,000 sq-km.
The most oil-impacted coastal areas were observed to be Clifton and DHA beaches, Karachi Harbour and offshore area adjacent to Clifton and DHA beaches. An estimated 12,000 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were released by evaporation into the air from the oil spill.
The worst oil-impacted areas of Karachi coast included the most popular recreational beaches of Clifton and the
DHA. Residential areas along the Clifton and Sea view coast up to a six-kilometre region were badly affected with contaminated air, having high concentrations of VOCs for about three weeks.
Despite a massive beach cleaning operation, oil contamination on beaches and adjacent seawater remained prominently visible even one year after the incident. Of the 31,000 tons of oil spilled, less than one per cent (310 tons) was recovered by subsequent cleanup operations.
The NRDA studies confirmed that the oil spill severely damaged the marine ecosystem of the coastal waters of Karachi Harbour, Clifton and DHA coasts up to the western coast of Bundal Island.
The NRDA programme has methodically documented the large-scale mortalities of bottom organisms and fish, including commercial fish and shellfish, and other marine organisms caused by the spill.
Also recorded were significant impacts to populations of birds, mammals, sea turtles, and mangroves in the oil-affected zone. The negative impacts on the socio-economy of the coastal population of about 305,000 in the affected area, particularly on public health, were serious and prolonged, the report said.
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
Authority Wants Leaded Oils Phased Out
National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) will launch a campaign to encourage consumption of unleaded petrol, according to the organisation's Director General, Prof Ratemo Michieka.
He said the countrywide campaign to encourage motorists to switch to unleaded fuel would start soon. Nema said widely-used leaded petrol contained damaging particlesand should be discouraged.
He said the campaign would be rolled out in the print and electronic media.
Michieko said NEMA chairs a multi-sectoral Task Force that seeks to phase out leaded fuel. Other members of the task force are Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) and United Nations Development Programme. "The developed world has long ceased to use leaded fuel. We must not accept to be used as a dumping site. Let us rise and say no to any neo-colonialist tendencies," he said during PIEA's quarterly meeting.
He said lead particles are easily inhaled and are associated with loss of brainpower, poor concentration and respiratory tract infections among children.
He said air pollution in Kenya is a serious problem resulting from massive release of pollutants into the atmosphere. He said also cited effluent discharged into Nairobi River as destructive.
He said studies have revealed the main source of the effluent discharge includes used oil, raw sewerage and industrial water waste.
Michieko said under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) of 1999, NEMA is empowered to receive up-to-date reports on operations of manufacturers and other establishments to ensure their compliance with environmental safety regulations.
He said that about 1,000 firms have so far complied with the safety requirement as stipulated in environmental law, while thousands of others are yet to meet the December 31, 2004 Environmental Audits deadline.
REGIONAL OFFICE FOR AFRICA - NEWS UPDATE